Just returned from a tour to Hong Kong with Ensemble Offspring. We last toured to Honkers seven years ago, and I remember vividly the steamy conditions playing some of Damien Ricketson's music in one particular gig, where my fingers were literally skimming off the keys.

So it was refreshing to step off the plane and feel the cool air on arrival. The entourage this time was Claire Edwardes, Lamorna Nightingale and myself, and we were looking forward to catching up and performing with old friend and concertmaster of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, James Cuddeford. Less refreshing perhaps was Lamorna's reaction to the food on the plane, probably no need to elaborate on that one.

We are staying in Quarry Bay, HK Island, and the next morning we are straight into it, heading to an early morning rehearsal in Kowloon with members of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Thankfully our host Icy is there to escort us in taxis from each venue, as I think we are probably running on auto pilot. We rehearse on the 11th floor of an industrial building in Kowloon, in what seems like the middle of nowhere, definitely staying together to avoid getting lost. The first morning it is meeting the local players and beginning work on Andriessen’s “Worker’s Union” and our new commission “Action Music 2” by Erik Griswold.

After lunch we head to Hong Kong University to give a workshop to some of he composition students. Great to catch up again with Professor Hing-Yan Chan whom we met at the Canberra International Music Festival the previous year. After performing some of our repertoire, we sight read the students works and gave them our thoughts on their compositions, something we have done a lot of recently. The two and a half hours goes very quickly, and there is even a minor scuffle when we give the students a look at Ensemble Offspring’s CD output.

Walking the streets of Quarry Bay for dinner was not so successful, and we end up settling for Taiwanese dumplings, too tired to go hunting for anything substantial. We all were looking forward to sleep back at the hotel. (Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Sinfonietta)