2017 RPS Composition Prize winner
Commission: chamber work, Philharmonia Orchestra, Music of Today 2018
"If music doesn't echo life,
it is nothing but noise"
Austin Leung (2016)
In 2008, Leung was awarded a half scholarship to study in the University of Hong Kong, majoring in Medical Engineering. In his second year of study, he occasionally joined the university choir which served as the enlightenment of his music journey. Being inspired deeply, he started learning and practicing music for around 6 hours a day. Two years later, he acquired his first ABRSM Grade 5 and Grade 8 certificates in both violin and music theory.
In 2010, Leung realized that no matter how hard he practices, it is far too late to start a career becoming a violinist. Still wishing to embark a music career, Leung started learning composition, which he fell more in love day by day. In 2014, Leung quitted his full-time job and went to study a full-time Advance Diploma (composition) at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Leung’s composition is distinctive in its manner of integrating contrasting musical materials in the same work. Materials range from tonal, expressive melodies to brutal contemporary noise. Such a compositional approach echoes Leung’s philosophical belief that the world is united, but also diversified. If the most contradicting musical materials can collaborate perfectly in a same piece of music, human, regardless of his background or culture, should be able to coexist in the same world without discrimination, prejudice, and war. Such a message is especially important in this era and Leung believes that music is one of the most effective platforms to deliver the message.
Retaining this belief, Leung's music has won a number of prizes and awards in the past years, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize 2017.
With the support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund, Leung is currently studying Master of Music (composition) in the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Cathy Graham, Director of Music, British Council: That classical music has a vibrant future is very important to me. Supporting the RPS allows me to play a small part in ensuring this.
DID YOU KNOW?
Richard Wagner was musical director of the 1855 Philharmonic Society Season and conducted all eight concerts.