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  • Writer's pictureSasha Huang

5 Things to Love About the French May Arts Festival, According to Executive Director Xavier Mahé

INTERVIEW



Since 1993, the French May Arts Festival has bridged Hong Kong, France, and Western cultures, making it a staple of Hong Kong’s cultural calendar.


The 2024 edition stands out with its dynamic, inclusive approach, emphasising community engagement and accessibility. This year's festival, with around 100 diverse programs, celebrates the transformative power of cultural exchange, uniting East and West while showcasing French heritage. From groundbreaking art exhibitions to exhilarating jazz collaborations and innovative dance performances, the festival offers a vibrant, multi-genre experience. The festival also goes beyond entertainment, actively engaging local communities and emphasising education for young people, under-resourced groups, and individuals with disabilities. In this feature, Executive Director Xavier Mahé shares his top five tips to make the most of this vibrant celebration of cultural extravaganza, where East meets West in a grand symphony of artistic expression.


Event Timeline: 1 May – 30 June 2024





Renowned pianist Niu Niu joins hand with rising star flautist Cocomi to perform a captivating piano and flute duo concert, weaving tranquil harmonies and poetry reading together. It also marks Cocomi’s first performance in Hong Kong.





With breakdance becoming an Olympic discipline in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Symphony of New Worlds will collide classical music with movement styles from around the globe and present another facet of street dance onstage to celebrate the Games.





Co-presented with M+, the special exhibition The Hong Kong Jockey Club Series: Noir & Blanc—A Story of Photography is the first large-scale public presentation of the collection of Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Asia, as well as M+’s first exhibition on photography, examining black and white photography as a time-honoured medium of art. Joining guided tours led by local photographers will provide you with a new perspective in seeing the exhibits.


Thanks to the generous support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, French May also organises an array of complimentary programmes, including Photographer-led Tours for ‘Noir & Blanc’, to guide audience from all walks of life to appreciate the beauty of the works on top of the thematic exhibition. 





Pas de deux à Hong Kong is one of the key theatre programmes from the Hong Kong–France theatre exchange project Let the Mirror Speak which is dedicated to showcasing different facets of French and Hong Kong cultures to their respective counterparts, just as a mirror to reflect a city's authentic personality.


This play is an ethno-drama shedding light on the lives of French residents of Hong Kong, and a love letter addressed to every person who has called Hong Kong home.





The Two Sides of Thierry Maillard features two exhilarating concerts co-produced by the French May and Jazz World Limited. 


Acoustic trio Thierry Maillard, Sylvain Gagnon, and Yoann Schmidt will perform French Ballad Trio: An Evening of Jazz in the Chanson Style, with Hong Kong-born world champion harmonicist CY Leo as the special guest. Together they captivate the audience with their expert musicianship, tight interplay, and sensitive performances. 


In addition, Maillard and Schmidt will join hands with Amaury Faye for the electric music programme - Moog Project: A Jazz Tribute to the Music of the 70s and 80s. By inviting special guest local jazz guitarist Eugene Pao, the collaboration is an enlightening sonic adventure that opens the doors of imagination through live sounds on these incredible instruments, staging a feast of music, creativity, and cultural interplay.


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All imagery is provided by 5ives Communications.



Address: 27/F, 1 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong | Website: frenchmay.com | Phone: Email: info@frenchmay.com | Instagram: @frenchmayartsfest | Facebook: @FrenchMayArtsFestival

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