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MA 30 Movers & Shapers: Andrea D. Fessler
By John Fleming
December 5, 2017
Founder and Executive Director
When Andrea Fessler started Premiere Performances Hong Kong in 2007, she had no idea what to expect as a presenter of chamber music. “I totally jumped in at the deep end with my eyes shut.”
Today, PPHK is celebrating the 11th season of its recital series and, in January, the ninth annual Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival, of which violinist Cho-Liang Lin is artistic director. Artists who made their Hong Kong debuts with the organization include pianist Yuja Wang, violinist Nicola Benedetti, and guitarist Miloš Karadaglic. In June, the Danish String Quartet makes its Hong Kong debut under PPHK’s auspices.
“The audience in Asia is much younger than you’ll find in North America or Europe,” says Fessler.“Whenever I go to a concert in London, I would say that two-thirds of the audience is above the age of 60. That is not true in Hong Kong or China. A lot of families, a lot of students go to concerts, and I think that’s why people are saying the future of classical music is in Asia.”
PPHK has a program that brings performances, workshops, and teacher training to schools in Hong Kong. Since 2012 it has made 240 school visits, reaching 2,300 teachers and 60,000 students. “At least 30 percent of the kids we reach have never seen a live performance before,” she says.
Fessler, a Canadian citizen, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and was a corporate lawyer before making the plunge into chamber music. She has been a resident of Hong Kong since 2004. “For me, being a corporate lawyer was like being a project manager, so maybe presenting a concert isn’t so different from purchasing a company,” she says. “They both require project (and people) management skills, attention to detail, and lots of contracts.”
She has no regrets about leaving the law for music. “I’m far more engaged and stimulated and passionate about what I’m doing now than I ever was as a lawyer.”
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