Reserve tickets for RTI Again now!!!

Music event promotion, Performance, Uncategorized

RESERVE your tickets now to the Round The Island Again concert, my first electronic concert in Hong Kong (not the first in Sweden though). 20 July 2018 8pm Hong Kong City Hall (Recital Hall). Tickets HK$100 (HK$50 concessionary tickets). Details and reservation

BREAKING! Round The Island Again in Hong Kong 20 July 2018

Music event promotion, Performance

BREAKING! Raphael Mak / VicMusic’s Round the Island will return again to Hong Kongthis time in electronic music fashion! 20 July 2018 8pm Hong Kong City Hall (High Block 8/F Recital Hall). Stay tuned!!!

突發新聞! 麥睿勤/維城樂坊 環島行 將以電子音樂形式強勢回歸香港! 七月二十日 香港大會堂高座八樓演奏廳。密切留意!!!

Website revamp

Music, Orienteering, Raphael Mak - myself,


I’m refocusing on music now and my website is being revamped in a similar way. Information on orienteering are relocated to either (Swedish/English) or (Chinese/English). I will still be writing both music and orienteering stuff here until some point in the future when I might separate my music and orienteering blogs.

Meanwhile, check out my offer to write music here on Fiverr, and spread the word!

Orchestral Piece for a New Era

Music, Music works

Now with one year past I think I dare to post this here. It was a remarkable experience which I don’t even know if there will be a repeat or anything that comes close. Again I could only say wherever my encounters take me.

The minimalism is explicit; this has been pointed out by my friends (search for the finale of Takashi Yoshimatsu’s Symphony No. 2; there’s no more definite inspiration than this).

It’s now very clear that, even if I am to carry on composing, I’m not giving up tonality any time soon.

In transition

Music, Orienteering

The HKOC Open Sprint Event was finally over last Sunday, successfully held save for major delays resulting from a faulty control unit and the resulting surge in results workload. This was my first orienteering event as organizer and I must thank every official and competitor who helped keep the event running, among other people who made it possible, and I apologize for all the hiccups.

Course-wise, much more needs to be learnt (this is my first time setting ranking courses), especially on setting sprints, my favourite orienteering discipline. Another issue is the enforcement of ISSOM-passability – balancing fairness and performance and not have multiple angry disqualified competitors turning up in front of you is tremendously important on the success of a sprint event, especially when it’s part of the Hong Kong team selection. (It is – the selection result is due in May.)


These two years saw a near-complete change of me from musician-orienteer to orienteer-musician. This has tremendously affected my habits, life, goals and aspirations as my search in identity continues. With graduation imminent I have come to miss the music student’s way of life. The future, to me, is still a vast unknown – but to continue on a music career it’s always a sine qua non to learn continually from other people, other experiences and other cultures.

Composition is a tricky discipline in that it necessarily involves some subjective aesthetic judgement. Thus it’s always a good idea to keep trying and finding new opportunities. Networking is a big area to improve given my introvert character. (Don’t wait for opportunities; find actively.)

It is also worth reminding that changing the living/learning/working environment every while or so is an important part in lifelong learning. Getting stuck at a place for too long is seldom a good idea.

And of course, a self-composed piece to be performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic is something I could hardly have dreamed of as a boy, which is however going to happen next Saturday! So do come and listen! (And meet Maestro Sheng)

Yes, I have shed my tears for being rejected by the graduate school of my own university.


But then anyway… perhaps one of my composition friends put it right: it’s always better to study in other graduate schools rather than that of your own university. (He also rightly summarized my experience as a low ebb coming tightly after a high tide.)  The only master’s admissions left for me are one composition programme (in Sweden) in main round, another (in Hong Kong) in clearing round (because I missed the main round application deadline), one symphony orchestra programme (in Sweden) for which I am going to have an audition, and an urban planning programme (in Hong Kong) which sees fierce competition for entry. It takes a wait of one or two more months to reveal where my future pathway is.

It turns out that my “lack of commitment on music” is not to blame, nor is it true. Rather, I have not researched early, wide or deep enough for graduate schools. Nonetheless, the bell is rung, and dreams require due commitment to materialize (plus a determination against all odds, especially paradigms). Bear that in mind, my readers.

Mid-December – planning the year 2015

Music, Music event promotion, Orienteering, Raphael Mak - myself

Mid-December 2014. Perhaps a bit late to plan the next year (or might be just in time).

2014 has been indeed a year never before experienced. Compositions, maps, super long trips. Ever tumultuous and changing society. Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mongkok revolutionizes our urban spatial experience (and above all political, but remember that planning is also political – search for relevant urban planning literature).

Next year I will be graduating, which means I should hold a graduation recital (not a must, though). Then I realized that I have too much material to present – my newest plan is to hold 4 concerts – 2 recitals at City Hall (the venue I had my composition concert last year); 1 ensemble concert and 1 orchestra concert at CUHK. They will be in around June or July. I’ll release details later.

Orienteering – Stay tuned for the new club I have founded with some friends, the Metropolitan Orienteering Club (MetOC). I have 3 mapping commissions in 2015: one for a sprint ranking race in Tseung Kwan O, one for a team event in Shatin, one for the annual championships long distance event. I’ll have to work hard in the local annual championships this year – if I do well enough I might get a chance to go to the World Championships in Scotland.

The most important thing – master studies. I’ll be applying for the Master of Science in Urban Planning programme at the University of Hong Kong. But I’ll be applying to music postgraduate programmes as well in case it doesn’t get through.




Time to spend more time on my actual major – music. Planning of the graduation concerts is under way. I plan to hold 2 or 3 concerts which will showcase me as both a performer and a composer.

Also related to music, I have finally obtained a flute teaching part-time job, thus ending perhaps one of the few cases in which a music student do not have to teach to make a living. (I feel guilty being one of those, indeed!)

A word on Occupy Central, which according to new information will be cleared by police on Wednesday or Thursday. The political effects of Occupy are far from in vain, for a paradigm shift has been under way. New forms of identity and political spectrum are put forth and propagated, and like the political and social upheaval in the 1960s West, culture and values are bound to be (and arguably have been) shaken up, a new social milleu thus forming.

But not to be overlooked is its significance to Hong Kong’s urbanism. Occupy proved that a tightly-knit human scale car-free urbanism, complete with mutual-help bottom-up community organization, is possible even in a metropolis notorious for its social alienation and over-managerialism. Facilities and objects such as the study room, the Lennon Wall, the staircases across the highway divider, the material collection stations, the wind turbine and the bicycle dynamos all illustrate the creative power of Hongkongers to solve problems and meet their needs, as well as towards a collective expression of their times. These elements will be brought to other communities as the Occupiers disperse. The Occupy experiment will prove pivotal to Hong Kong’s urban development.

Alpe Adria Championships

Music, Orienteering

Following my O-Week in Tallinn I stayed a few days in Vienna (with my mother and sister who were also on vacation), during which I attended a performance of Philip Glass’ Ninth Symphony, with Dennis Russell Davies (a long-time companion of Glass) conducting the Bruckner-Orchester Linz (where Davies is chief conductor) in the grand hall of the Musikverein. According to the programme booklet (in Europe it appears to be the custom for the programme booklet to be purchased separately) the symphony was premiered by the same conductor and orchestra on 1 January 2012 in Brucknerhaus Linz. While the music is very typical of Glass (characterized by fragmentation and repetition of chords) the melancholy and brilliant variation of timbre, in my opinion, made this symphony unique; the symphony seems something like the course of a day from dawn to dusk. The act itself of listening to contemporary music in the grand hall of the Musikverein is perhaps significant enough, drawing a parallel with the 19th-century Romantics evaluating the rapidly-evolving new repertoire of their day. (No modern-day Hanslick making harsh comments though I guess.)

Afterwards I went south to Italy for a 3-day competition named the Alpe Adria Championships. The competition is conceived as a inter-regional competition for provincial teams around the Alpe Adria region (including provinces/states from Italy/Austria/Germany/Hungary among other countries), but welcomes keen orienteers from all around the world. This year, as the World Orienteering Championships are to be held in Italy next week, some elite orienteers are using the Alpe Adria Championships as part of their training before the big race.

The Alpe Adria Championships include three days of World Ranking Events, in the order of long distance – sprint – middle distance. The sprint is held in Conegliano (northeast of Venice, around 45 minutes by train), while the middle and long distances are held in the forest of Cansiglio, around 1000m in altitude above the valley of Vittorio Veneto north of Conegliano.

The long distance course used a map of 1:15000 which makes the already very challenging terrain even more challenging. The terrain, although in rough terms a large slope facing generally northeast, is full of pits and depressions spread throughout the land (characteristic of karst terrain prevalent in central and eastern Europe), such terrain detail requiring a high level of attention throughout the race. Just a few seconds off the map and terrain and you’re lost.


The sprint in Conegliano was an easy one, yet not without challenges as side paths leading into back gardens and the building pass-throughs of the various shopping malls provide good chance for course setting and route choice challenges. (I bet, in difficulty, this is still far from the WOC sprint venues of Burano and Venice.)


The middle distance returned to the difficult terrain of Cansiglio (but south of the area for the long distance), and parallel errors kept on plaguing my run. If you want high-standard technical training for terrain details, compass use or simplification, this is the place.


Composition project – Kowloon Rhapsody

Music works, Performance

Almost a month passed before I am writing a post on this event i.e. the composition project performance on 30 April. The ensemble-in-residence of the CUHK Music composition project this year (i.e. the ensemble that will perform submissions) is Jenga, a Hong Kong percussion quartet. Having written the Kowloon Rhapsody as assignment work last semester, it was just natural that I submitted it.

Kowloon Rhapsody was originally the title of a percussion concerto I wanted to write, but I was so unfamiliar with percussion stuff so I’d just shelved it. But the percussion composition project pushed me into writing something for percussion, and not willing to waste the idea, I picked it up again.

The writing of the piece was indeed inspired by the hustle and bustle of Kowloon, though even more exhilarating and dynamic elements such as the former Kai Tak Airport also have to play. These are interspersed with tales, origins and mysticism of of the area e.g. the nine dragons, the names of the hills (Lion Rock…) etc.

It’s so exciting to be able to hear the music one writes himself, live. And the performance went surprisingly well. The unwritten cadenzas were also well done by the percussionists.

Ask me personally for the recording.

Next post will probably be about the HKOC Night-O on 17 May, for which I took part in course setting.