黃樂婷 Wong Lok Ting, 香港中樂團胡琴聯合首席兼高胡首席 Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra Huqin Co-Principal and Gaohu Principal.
DB: 您喜欢音乐和演奏的主要原因是什么？ What do you love most about music and performing?
I like music because it is like poetry, which is very abstract. Although it is composed of sounds and tone, if the timing is good, it will ultimately paint a vivid picture and make people move. Listening to a song can change people’s mood and reflect their emotions as well. Performing music can also be very personal, at least for me. I enjoy the freedom I found through playing music, which retains a sense of mystery. Performing on stage, however, is not the same. If I want to concentrate on stage, I will inevitably be nervous. We can never know what might happen during the performance as there are many unknowns, so rehearsal is necessary to reduce these unknowns. In addition, I treat the performance as a summary of my feelings about music for the duration of the piece.
DB: 您最喜欢的演奏曲目是哪首？What is your favourite piece of music to perform?
There are too many pieces of music I like to perform. I prefer classical songs, of course, but I will not resist new works. I was most impressed with The Butterfly Lovers in a gaohu concerto, which I played with three classmates in the concert called ‘Surf’s Up!’ I felt really lucky to have the opportunity to perform what I had learned.
DB: 二胡和高胡有什么不同？您更偏爱哪一种？What is the difference between the erhu and the gaohu and do you prefer one over the other?
I studied erhu from a young age and a few years later, I started learning gaohu because the teacher asked me to perform it in the orchestra. In my primary and secondary schools, there were only one or two students in the orchestra performing gaohu. Later, I was also asked to perform Ban Hu, Jing Hu, etc. With the exception of the erhu, I learned all other string music myself.
The playing methods of both gaohu and erhu are very similar, although they are different in pitch. Unlike the erhu, which is more unified in shape, the gaohu has a more diversified form. In fact, the gaohu also evolved from the erhu. At the beginning of the last century, gaohu master Lu Wencheng increased the height of erhu and clamped it with his legs in order to adapt it to the humid climate in Southern China.
Gaohu and erhu differ greatly in their repertoire, but I like both of them. In the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, however, I mainly play gaohu. Consequently, in recent years, the audience will feel that I am biased towards the gaohu.
DB: 在香港中乐团表演，您有哪些收获？What is the most rewarding aspect of performing with Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra?
Working in the professional orchestra, we are all benefit from the reasonable division of works, which means that every department are in charge of specific jobs. This is totally different from my school experience. At that time, I always had to prepare for my performance on the stage as well as details behind the scenes and that distracted me from my performance.
What’s more, HKCO has brought me many opportunities to work with musicians from different countries. I have been sitting on the first stage of the Gaohu Voice for nearly ten years and every time I look at the backs of soloists at a close distance, I find it very interesting. Some people will nervously shake their hands, while some masters are full of confidence standing on stage and some look very relaxed and devoted. In short, I find it very fun.
Of course, performing with the orchestra around the world also brings me valuable life experiences.
DB:假如您有机会跟任意作曲家同台表演，不管是已逝或者在世的作曲家中，您会选择跟谁合作？为什么？ If you could perform alongside any composer, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
I hope to meet Mr. Liu Tianhua, the master of erhu, who wrote ten erhu solo songs a hundred years ago. Erhu was never seen as a solo instrument until he wrote the solo songs. That’s why all erhu players must learn how to perform those songs. I remember a teacher said: “His [Liu Tianhua] work is obviously Westernized, but when you listen to it, it is Chinese music.” There is still a lot of potential for these works to be revived. Everyone can play different characteristics of those songs and even a hundred years later there will be many people playing them.
DB: 8岁您便开始学习拉奏二胡，从什么时候您开始对音乐充满激情和追求呢？ You started learning the erhu at the young age of eight. When did you realise that music was your passion and calling?
I didn’t have much interest in learning erhu until I was in middle school. I discovered that I learned faster than my fellow classmates. I won several championships at the inter-school music festival. The teacher encouraged me to perform erhu and found me many opportunities. At the age of 15, I held the first solo concert. Luckily, people around me like to listen to my performance and so I thought I should always play erhu. After I failed my college entrance examination, I decided to attend the Academy of Performing Arts. Be it enthusiasm or just my interest, I’m also very grateful that my music career is such a pleasure.