The Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus

… A voice full of passion, it’s the valuable spirit of youth.
– Prof. Leo Lee Ou-fan,

Ming Pao Daily

CU Chorus is a wonderful youth choir with amazing abilities! Having worked with them and their conductor – my former student Leon Chu, I will keep forever my memories about the great spirit, sensitivity and beautiful music they can create! I am happy to know you, my dear friends!
– Prof. Theodora Pavlovitch,

International Federation for Choral Music

CU Chorus were splendid in their collaboration with Siam Philharmonic in our ongoing complete Mahler Cycle. They sang like angels — just as the composer intended!
– Somtow Sucharitkul,

Music Director of Siam Philharmonic

 

For 40 years’ pursuit of excellence, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus (CU Chorus) has become one of the best local university choirs in Hong Kong. With a global vision, CU Chorus has performed not only on the local stage, but also in various cities in southern China and Southeast Asia. With its high quality performances and innovative programmes, CU Chorus is dedicated to promote the art of choral music to the general public.

 

CU Chorus was founded in 1972 by a group of CUHK students. In the early days, the role of conductor was taken up by students. Since the 1990s, the formal post of Music Director and Conductor has been established. The post was first taken up by Dennis Ng, followed by Yeh Cheung-shing from 2000 to 2005, and Leon Chu from 2006. CU Chorus expanded its range of performances in recent years including public concerts, free campus concerts, overseas exchange performances, Christmas caroling, conducting workshops and charity outreach performances.

 

CU Chorus presented a number of popular programmes with diverse themes, such as a number of composer-portrait concerts featuring original choral works and arrangements by Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, Jan Tien-hao, Joseph Koo, Ng Cheuk-yin and Leonard Bernstein, and Christmas concerts with the American jazz legend Howard McCrary, making an influence in expanding choral repertoire in local music scene. CU Chorus’ performances also made an impact through the internet — a YouTube video of CU Chorus received coverage in the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, for its wide circulation and resonance in Jewish communities worldwide.

 

Over the years, CU Chorus has collaborated with numerous local and overseas artists, including Canto-pop iconic figure Joseph Koo, mezzo-soprano Carol Lin, baritone Albert Lim, percussionist Louis Siu, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the RTHK Quartet, Taiwanese conductors Dirk DuHei and Johnny Ku, Bulgarian choral conductor Theodora Pavlovitch, American conductors Paul Hondorp and Eric Stark, and American jazz musician Howard McCrary. Since the 1970s, CU Chorus has constantly engaged in exchange activities with choirs in mainland China and Southeast Asia, visiting cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Tainan, Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and Johor Bahru. In recent years, CU Chorus was invited to various guest performances in overseas music festivals, including the 20th Macau International Music Festival in 2006, the Thai premiere of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 by Siam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013, the world première of the original Moscow version of Xian Xing-hai’s Yellow River Cantata in the 2015 Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, and the 2019 Taipei International Choral Festival.

 

Promoting Hong Kong choral compositions is one of the missions of CU Chorus since its establishment. CU Chorus has been commissioning new pieces from a number of composers, including Hong Kong composers Dennis Wu, Andy So, Samson Young, Tang Lok-yin, Ng Wah-hei, Ng Cheuk-Yin, and Taiwan composer Jan Tien-hao. In 2016, in collaboration with Actors’ Family, CU Chorus commissioned choral arrangements of various numbers from the company’s original Cantonese musicals, altogether forming a unique and local voice in Hong Kong choral music. 

 

CU Chorus released its first commercial album Spring Breeze Kisses My Face — The Choral Music of Jan Tien-hao on The Modern Audio label in June 2014, which was well-received by music lovers, and awarded as one of the Best Sales Releases (Classical and Operatic Works Recording) in the IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award 2014. The second album Sing Our Own Song — Selected Hong Kong Choral Works in Cantonese was released by CU Chorus in August 2019 on CD and various online music platforms. The online performance of Fauré's Requiem in November 2020 is also released as a digital album. In 2019, CU Chorus launched their own publications, including sheet music of 17 choral compositions, and A Chronology of the Life of Sin Sing-hoi (Xian Xing-hai) by Taiwanese scholar Zha Tai-yuan.

To lay a better foundation for its never-ending artistic pursuit, CU Chorus registered charitable organisation status with CU Chorus Association (a limited-liability company) in January 2012. The new governing body, with its finer division of labour in artistic, management and administrative aspects, better facilitates the collaboration of CUHK undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni in their efforts to raise CU Chorus – a group coming from and based in CUHK – to ever-higher artistic heights.