Conductor Lio Kuokman Named Musical America New Artist of the Month

3 Mar 2021

Conductor Lio Kuokman is named Musical America’s New Artist of the Month for March 2021. The “startling conducting talent” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) Lio Kuokman is Resident Conductor with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and has previously served as assistant conductor to music director Yannick Nézet-Seguin with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Musical America’s Ken Smith writes:

“Back in October, when Lio Kuokman stepped in for Jaap van Zweden to lead the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s season opener, the event somewhat evoked Leonard Bernstein’s legendary debut with the New York Philharmonic.”

Kuokman was named the Orchestra’s Resident Conductor only two months after this stunning concert. What is it like to be a positioned conductor in the time of COVID-19? Kuokman tells Musical America that, “Programming now changes from week to week, sometimes day to day. You don’t just need a Plan B. You need plans through X, Y and Z.” He adds, “I spent 70 days in quarantine in 2020,” with more to come in advance of four weeks in March, April and May conducting the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.

Programme Director of the Macao International Music Festival since January 2020, in the recent years Lio Kuokman has successfully collaborated with some of the leading orchestras across globe. Engagements over the past seasons in Europe, Northern America and Asia have included debuts and re-invitations with Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, Seoul Philharmonic, NHK, Tokyo Metropolitan, Hiroshima and Kyoto Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Russian National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Latvian National, Philadelphia Orchestra (regular series and at the Vail Festival) and Detroit Symphony among many others. Recent distinguished appearances include a celebration concert with Hong Kong Philharmonic in the presence of the President of China Xi Jinping. Lio Kuokman enjoys a special relationship with Sinfonia Varsovia whom he conducted in a number of concerts featuring Nelson Goerner, Nicholas Angelich, Nelson Freire and Anne Queffélec during the 38th Festival International de Piano de la Roque d’Anthéron, He also collaborated with Sinfonia Varsovia at the La Folle Journées Festival in Nantes, Japan and Warsaw.

Equally sought after as an opera conductor, Lio has conducted various opera productions including La bohèmeL’elisir d’amorePagliacciTurandotIl TrovatoreRigolettoMadama ButterflyCarmen and was invited by Maestro Valery Gergiev to be the guest conductor at the Mariinsky theatre conducting Rimsky-Kosarkov’s The Maid of Pskov.

A prize-winner of the third Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in Paris, Lio Kuokman has studied with Otto-Werner Mueller and Hugh Wolff and attended master-classes with Sir Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas, James Levine, Christopher Eschenbach and Alan Gilbert. He is a founding member and President of the Macao Chamber Music Association. For his contributions to the development of arts and culture, Lio has received a Certificate of Commendation and Medal of Cultural Merit from both governments of Hong Kong and Macao.

Lio Kuokman Conducts the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra

19 & 20 March – The Life of a Hero
Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor
Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40
Richard Lin, violin

26 & 27 March
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60
Strauss: Don Quixote, Op. 35
Hui-Chu Hsiao, viola
Yi-Tzu Pan, cello

9 & 11 April – The Sea of Love and Symbolism
Wagner: “Vorspiel” and “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde
Respighi: Pines of Rome
Debussy: La Mer

8 & 9 May – The Creatures of Prometheus – Old Music, New Dance
Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
MAD theater Dance Company
Gee-Tze Shih (Jesse), choreographer