SIGNED magazine #29

28 for digitising Dunhuang grottoes. The Academy began digitising the invaluable artefacts, murals and sculptures of the grottoes since the end of the last century. This project was carried out to capture a permanent record of the relics and images of the grottoes, so as to safeguard them from further damages caused by natural and manmade disasters, and to provide more accurate and detailed information for future research. "Without meticulous care and conservation, our world cultural heritage and the national treasure of art and culture will wither. 'To conserve, safeguard and innovate' is not my invention. It is the mission upheld by generations of guardians of Dunhuang culture. They know their calling and have dedicated their whole life working on it." For Ki, Dunhuang and Hong Kong are both geographical hubs and cultural melting pots, where the Eastern and Western civilisations come together. Ki's first visit to the place enlightened her about the past and present similarities between Dunhuang and Hong Kong. The glamorous relics of Dunhuang vividly depicts the political, social, cultural and everyday lives of the time. Yet, the glory of Dunhuang's antiquities may be seen as tumbled blocks for those not in the know. Ki believes that education can effectively teach us how to cherish and love our cultural legacy. She arranged a series of field visits to Dunhuang, which included some study tours for teachers and students. Yet, after these events, participants returned to their busy school life. Apparently, the effect of individual visits is not easy to sustain. Subsequently, Ki realised that despite the rich contents of the cave murals, the music and dance scenes painted on them were only two dimension. Without sound or movement, they can hardly touch people's hearts. Ki hoped that the ensemble she founded could bring Hong Kong's young musicians together to perform, conserve and popularise the music of Dunhuang using an innovative way. "Music is indeed an important element in Dunhuang murals. Amongst the cultural relics discovered in the Library Cave by Taoist priest Wang Yuanlu, 25 pieces of ancient musical notations were found. The notations were not readily understood. Detailed textual descriptions are scarce and there was certainly no recording equipment in the old days. It was rather impossible for the songs, dance and music to pass down the generations. Yet, Dunhuang murals were adorned with scenes of songs and dance, allowing us to have a glimpse of the instruments and music played of the time." In early 2017, Ki brought a team of young Hong Kong music students to perform in Finland, where she met a few Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts students. She suggested they form a Chinese music ensemble to play the lost music depicted on Dunhuang murals. The ensemble was successfully set up and the relevant research was supported by Dr. Zhao Shengliang, then deputy director of Dunhuang Research Academy. In 2018, Hong Kong Gaudeamus Dunhuang Ensemble was officially founded. With two composers and eight young musicians on board, the 20-something team was inspired by Dunhuang murals in their creations. The original music they wrote for Dunhuang murals received critical acclaim and support by many. Over the past five years, the ensemble's art coordinator and resident composer Kam Shing Hei and resident composer Chu Kai Yeung wrote more than 40 pieces. The wonderful melodies are based on Chinese music and infused with Western elements, forming a novel music genre that has been praised as a breath of fresh air in the music community. The ensemble has performed in two world cultural heritage sites in China, including the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang and the Palace Museum. They were highly praised, and their artistic reinterpretation was fully recognised. The ensemble has also performed in many locations in China and Hong Kong. During Chinese New Year, it performed in Tokyo. Online and offline educational events were also conducted to demonstrate to the public and to promote Dunhuang music. It has achieved outstanding results within a few years' time. Hong Kong has long been the gateway that connects China with the world. The role has been much strengthened in recent years to support the national goal of cementing Hong Kong's position as an international cultural exchange centre. Hong Kong Gaudeamus Dunhuang Ensemble strives to nurture talents, popularise Chinse music and spread the culture and art of Dunhuang through Ms Leonie Ki, the founder and honorary director of the Hong Kong Gaudeamus Dunhuang Ensemble, is a veteran advertising creative and senior executive in Hong Kong. She is passionate about charity works and public services, and her post-retirement time is dedicated to promoting the art and culture of Dunhuang. 作為香港天籟敦煌樂團創辦 人兼榮譽團長,紀文鳳女士不 單是香港資深廣告創意人和 管理人,工作之餘也一直熱心 社會公益和慈善活動,退休後 又致力推廣敦煌文化藝術。