Author: Meizhu Lui

“Angels We Have Heard on High:” the image of angels playing heavenly music on harps has been with us since Biblical times.  But the harp is even older than Christianity. It is thought to be over 3000 years old, seen on the walls of Egyptian tombs. For centuries, the harp has had a special place in Irish tradition; it led warriors into battle and became the national symbol of Ireland. Given such a long and storied history, with its exalted place among royalty, religions, and nations, it is no wonder that harps are capable of transporting the listener to other…

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“Cheer” means so many things: brightening people’s spirits, joy, and jollity, lifting a glass in a toast, and applause for something well done.  Home for the Holidays checked all those boxes. This holiday season, it’s been a slog to feel the usual anticipation; so many of us are giving up cherished traditions, or not gathering with those we love. So HPAF’s concert was a needed lift to our hearts. We visited the music rooms of some of our favorite HPAF faculty and alumni, and not only got to hear their performances but met their families and found out what makes…

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Who could have imagined such an inaugural season for the Hawaii International Guitar Series!  Certainly not William Jenks, its visionary founder.  Originally there were five concerts planned, to take place on Hawaii Island. But after three impressive performances in Hawi, the world suddenly ground to a halt. But the Series did not: Jenks organized not just two, but three more virtual concerts, broadcast from the artists’ homes to our own living rooms, wherever those might be. It was fitting that the Series should end with two guitarists right here in Hawaii, Ian O’Sullivan, a native of Oahu, and William Jenks…

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Our nation has been confronted with an uncomfortable truth:  there is not yet equality or justice for Blacks and other peoples of color. Will action finally be taken, not just by the government but by all parts of society, including the music arts industry?  The Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) is rising to the challenge with a new initiative on Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Access – what a good IDEA! Four HPAF alumni, African Americans Makeda Hampton and Alysia Lee, South African Njabulo Madlala, and Filipino-American Mary Rose Go were joined by HPAF faculty member Paulina Villarreal of Mexico first…

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Remember how magical it was to emerge from the Hawaii Preparatory Academy or the Kahilu Theater with the music of the night from a Hawaii Performing Arts concert still in our ears? It seems so far away and long ago! At noon instead of at night, in order to accommodate artists performing from the Eastern time zone, and in our respective living rooms instead of at Hawaiian venues, HPAF aficionados gathered round our computer screens, some of us with a cup of coffee, some with an early glass of wine, to hear the first of three concerts comprising HPAF’s High…

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This was the inaugural year for the Hawaii International Guitar Series, and it’s been a more exciting year than we bargained for!  After three fantastic performances in Hawi, COVID shut down the final two in-person concerts. But difficulty breeds creativity!  Series organizer William Jenks has put together three virtual concerts with different, but equally compelling, classical guitarists than were originally on the roster. Grammy Award-winning American musician Jason Vieaux, considered among the best classical guitarists of our time, performed August 30. The program included music spanning five centuries, from the earliest known published work for guitar by Alonso Mudarra in…

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