initiatives & Programmes

FIF’s Scholarships

In 2011, First Initiative Foundation and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation partnered to establish the Young Scholars Programme. The programme aims to provide talented young pianists with the opportunity to learn from one of the best pianist and performer in the world.

Lang Lang Young Scholars Program

 
 
First Initiative Foundation (FIF) proudly sponsors two music scholarships for the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Each scholarship is for a two year period, and Hong Kong recipients have the fantastic opportunity to join a handful of outstanding young pianists from around the world who are under the direct mentorship of Lang Lang.
 
Young Scholars is a brilliant way for talented young pianists to develop more confidence and enhance their performance skills. The global programme gives them the chance to perform locally and internationally, and showcases young Hong Kong talent on the world stage.
 
2020-2012 YOUNG SCHOLARS
 
Ruby Wu is an exceptionally talented young pianist, flutist and performer. Her passion for music extends not only to performance but, as music as a form of expression. Through her performance, Ruby uses music and performance to communicate her musical ideas. Ruby was admitted into the GMC Academy Young Pianist Program at 6 years of age. She has participated and has won several piano competitions throughout Asia.
 

Yuk-Chiu Lai is a remarkably talented young pianist and violinist. At the age of four, he was introduced to the piano and has loved it since. Yuk-Chiu is a double major in the piano and violin. He has competed internationally and has earned several awards. While music is his passion, he has a wide range of interests as a cub scout and enjoys playing soccer and table tennis.

2018-2020 YOUNG SCHOLARS

Katarina Cheung is an outstanding young musician who sees music as her loyal friend. She regards music as a loyal companion who shares all the ups and downs in her life. A talented pianist, she has since the age of five participated in and has won several music competitions. Katarina devotes most of her time to music. She enjoys playing and sharing music with a group of musicians in the choir and the orchestra. Her interests and hobbies include table tennis, swimming, mathematics and reading.

Wilson Lung is an exceptional young musician, both talented at playing the piano and the Erhu. Through the Young Scholars Program, he hopes to not only further his musical knowledge through but the artistry of performance from one of the world’s most recognised and respected classical artist – Lang Lang.  

2015-2017 YOUNG SCHOLARS
 
Jenny Kong is a wonderfully talented young pianist. We admire her dedication in taking piano lessons for nearly a decade, and her confidence in performing in front of her school peers. Jenny and her family are happy that the Young Scholars programme is a chance for her to enrich her musical knowledge and develop her independence through travel.
 
Peter Leung is a truly remarkable young pianist. Peter has been learning piano since a very young age, and has won numerous prizes and school scholarships. Peter and his family hope that the Young Scholars programme will build his confidence and open the door to a fruitful future career in music.
 
2013-2015 YOUNG SCHOLARS 
 
Sherri Lun is a creative young musician with a love for piano, viola, singing, and composing poetry. Sherri won her first Champion in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival at the remarkably young age of 5, and went on to win many more awards throughout childhood. Sherri’s impressive achievements with the Young Scholars allowed her to expand her artistic development.
 
Matthew Chan is a wonderful and hardworking pianist. His study at HKAPA in piano and clarinet, in addition to the Hong Kong Children’s Choir,  shows his versatility and talent in music. Matthew’s experience with the Young Scholars had many beneficial effects, including widening his extensive network of peers and professionals.
 
2011-2013 YOUNG SCHOLARS 
 
Kate Lee is an outstanding young performer who enjoys sharing music with all on a big stage. Kate has been studying the piano from a very early age, and passed her Grade 8 exam with distinction at the age of eight. Kate delighted crowds with performances around the world, including an FIF event in London. Kate often expresses her gratitude to her good teachers, who showed her how to tell a story with music.
 
Jonathan Leung is a remarkable student, whose talents range from distinctions in piano and violin, to writing and sports. Under the Young Scholars programme, he was able to travel and perform in a range of exciting events, including London and Manhattan. Jonathan treasured the opportunity to contribute to the Young Scholars by bringing classical music to other children around the world.

Manhattan school of music

Manhattan School of Music Scholarships

At First Initiative Foundation (FIF), we are very happy to extend our international outreach by pledging scholarship support funds to the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) in New York. The school is home to some of the most superb music scholars from the US and worldwide, and offers training in classical and jazz genres as well as musical theatre.
 
The FIF scholarship supports students from Hong Kong, enabling them to travel to New York and study amongst some of the most promising musicians of their generation.
 
Claudia Ng is the current recipient of the First Initiative Foundation Scholarship at MSM, and is an exceptional clarinetist from Hong Kong. Before continuing her studies at MSM, Claudia studied the clarinet at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA), and was a regular prizewinner at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festivals, as well as international competitions in Beijing and Italy.
 
The FIF scholarship allows Claudia to complete her studies at MSM in addition to a summer music program. Claudia is a talented, deserving student and FIF is pleased to help her pursue a future career as a clarinetist.

HKPU Design

HKPU Design Scholarship

FIF supports undergraduate and postgraduate academic scholarships at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) School of Design, in honour of our ‘Make Time for Giving’ Sojourn watch campaign.
 
The scholarship supports design education in Hong Kong and gives local talented students the opportunity to join high-profile design projects. HKPU is one of the only institutions in Hong Kong that offers excellent higher education in design. We strongly admire its commitment to applying Asian innovation to global needs.
 
Angel Yuen is the most recent recipient of a 2016/17 First Initiative Foundation Design Scholarship, and has been studying Environment & Interior Design.
 
The FIF Scholarship has helped with her motivation to study design, and she has been engaging with projects, competitions and internships – all fantastic steps to help her achieve her dreams of becoming a designer in the community.

HKAPA Cantonese Opera and Music

Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

First Initiative Foundation funds two degree scholarships for four students at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) yearly, helping fantastic local music students to pursue their ambitions.
 
At FIF, we fully support the educational philosophy at HKAPA, which celebrates cultural diversity and Hong Kong’s unique fusion of Chinese and Western traditions.
 
Chow Lok-Tung is studying for her BA Fine Art in Cantonese Opera, with the hope of becoming a Cantonese Opera actress. She has loved Cantonese Opera since early childhood. Lok-Tung has received the 2016/17 First Initiatives Scholarship to help her to achieve her ambitions to keep the traditional art form alive in the younger generation.
 
Siu Wing-Chi is studying for her BA Fine Art in Cantonese Opera Music. Having started her music lessons with the piano at the age of four, she now plays a repertoire of classical pluck-string instruments, majoring in Sanxian. She has received the 2016/17 First Initiatives Scholarship to further her education in Chinese Opera.
 
Bou Kwan-Ying is studying BA Music, and majors in Guzheng. Kwan-Ying has been awarded the 2016/17 First Initiatives Music Scholarship. FIF has supported the practice of this traditional Chinese instrument to enhance educational outreach into our community’s culture.
 
Wong Sum Ho is studying BA Music, and majors in two instruments with distinction – Erhu and Gaohu. Sum Ho has been awarded the 2016/17 First Initiatives Music Scholarship to support the creation of beautiful Chinese music.

art & design

2019

FIF'S STARS IN HARMONY INITIATIVE

This year FIF reflected on the uplifting message of hope, harmony and unity. Through the foundation’s “Stars in Harmony initiative”, we united both the visual and culinary arts with our collaboration with artist Nicholas Cheung and a stellar group of Michelin starred chefs. The universal language of art and food are unifiers that extend beyond the boundaries of geography and culture.

Titled Feathered Ascent, we collaborated with international artist Nicholas Cheung on a project to spread the uplifting message of hope, harmony and positivity. The installation of dove sculptures embraces both lightness and light within darkness. A fitting metaphor and symbol of peace. This new media art installation by Cheung also skillfully demonstrates the use of robotics, electronics and advanced materials to create a much-needed icon for our times.

“Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It's inseparable from those from the get-go.” – Anthony Bourdain

Food is truly everything that we are on a plate. Working with a group of chefs with 12 Michelin stars between them; Chef Kenichi Fujimoto from Sushi Saito, Chef Hideaki Sato from Ta Vie, Chef Hidemichi Seki from Tenku RyuGin, Chef Guillaume Galliot from Caprice and Chef Chan Yan Tak from Lung King Heen. They designed a menu that presents a compelling narrative on harmony through exciting dishes that deliciously combine a myriad of tastes and temptations.

Through our Stars in Harmony Initiative, FIF celebrates the importance of art along with the messages of hope, harmony and positivity for all.

2016

claude monet: 'the spirit of place' exhibition

A journey into the world of Claude Monet.
 

Le French May presented “The Spirit of Place”; a magnificent Monet exhibition in cooperation with Réunion des Musées Nationaux. The Hong Kong community, both young and old, were able to view 18 of the Impressionist’s fine works, including Water Lilies and Effect of Spring in a setting that recreated many aspects of Monet’s beloved home, Giverny

First Initiative Foundation (FIF) supported the exhibition in partnership with Le French May and held a gala fundraising dinner at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, with exhibition viewing a highlight of the evening.

The gala introduced FIF’s original children's picture book set “My Monet” and “Colour Me Monet”, which was donated to more than 1500 local schools and libraries.

2013

Botticelli’s Venus Exhibition

Touring from Turin: Hong Kong University presents a viewing of Venus.

For the first time in Hong Kong, Sandro Botticelli’s Venus was presented at the University Museum and Gallery of Hong Kong University (HKU). First Initiative Foundation (FIF) supported the event in order to provide viewing of this inspiring masterpiece to the broader community.

The Italian Consulate of Hong Kong and Macao, the Italian Cultural Institute and the University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) are honoured to present to the public a true Italian masterpiece – Venus (ca. 1482) by Florentine Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510). Patronised by noble families including the Medici, Botticelli produced a number of unique Venus paintings one of which, a treasure from the celebrated Galleria Sabaudain Turin, will be on view in Hong Kong for the first time from October 17th through December 15th, 2013.  An iconic image of the high artistic achievement of the Renaissance (14th–16th centuries), Botticelli’s carefully executed tempera painting on wood relates to ancient classical sculpture and the tradition of depicting the goddess Venus as a heroine, symbolising love, beauty, fertility and prosperity in Greco-Roman mythology.  

A rebirth of Antiquity, the Italian High Renaissance is significant for the sophisticated stylistic and technical advances in science and art, and the methodical study of nature and the human body.  Botticelli’s painting, a depiction of the nude, exemplifies these values in which the verisimilitude and beauty of the human condition as an ideal form is achieved by the finest artists in early modern Europe. 

UMAG plans an unprecedented public outreach programme to welcome this true sensation to our community to enchant and to educate interested members of our community, collectors and scholars, as well as students from local and international schools. In collaboration with two Italian scholars in HKU’s Fine Arts department, students will be able to learn, teach and exchange art-historical and cultural knowledge, while bringing together the wider public for whom lectures, workshops, and seminars will be organised at the museum.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Ms Pansy Ho.

2012

picasso exhibition

Parisian partnerships meet Hong Kong heritage, in a wonderful presentation of Picasso’s masterpieces.

In partnership with Le French May, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum presented masterpieces from the Picasso collection at the Musée National Picasso, Paris. The Picasso exhibition was the finest ever featured in Hong Kong, including 56 paintings from a diverse timespan of Picasso’s career.

As this exquisite international collection was an experience not to be missed, First Initiative Foundation (FIF) arranged an exhibition viewing for art lovers – from Blue to Rose Periods, and a stroll through pioneering Cubist, Classical and Expressionist art.

2011

Make Time for Giving: Watch Design Campaign

Memorable, dashing and designed by students: this FIF sponsored and created initiative makes time for giving.

Chairman Michelle Ong drew upon her wealth of jewellery designing experience to mentor students at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Department of Design (HKPU).

Students created two beautiful and intricate watch designs, both with First Initiative Foundation (FIF) branding, to be sold to the public in a variety of retail outlets. Proceeds contribute towards FIF Design Scholarships at HKPU.

It’s time to support our community talent!

music & performance

2019

Baroque improvised and jazz piano trio cabana!

Jean Rondeau and Le French May present “Baroque Improvised” and “Jazz Piano Trio Cabana!”

In 2019, FIF was the recognized sponsor of “Baroque Improvised: Jean Rondeau in Recital” and “Jazz Piano Trio Cabana!” which was open to the public. The programmes led by virtuoso, renowned harpsichordist and pianist Jean Rondeau was held at Hong Kong University’s Yuet Ming Auditorium to benefit Hong Kong students and teachers.

2018

The Art of Music

Chairman Michelle Ong created a memorable evening of art and music at Tai Kwun, featuring Milan’s Brera Picture Gallery and renowned pianist Clive Britton.

On December 1st the First Initiative Foundation (FIF) celebrated their charitable initiative “The Art of Music”. In keeping with FIF’s focus on community outreach, heritage and cultural enhancement, the special event was presented at and hosted in conjunction with Tai Kwun‎ on Hollywood Road.

This charitable evening highlighted by a memorable recital by the internationally renowned pianist Clive Britton as he plays Hungarian composer Franz Liszt’s 2nd Year of Pilgrimage – Italy in front of Raphael’s 1504 Sposaliziodella Vergine (The Marriage of the Virgin), the Renaissance era masterpiece painting that inspired the composer on his first visit to Brera in 1837. Projected images of the inspirational artwork enhanced and accompanied the music, making this an unforgettable experience for all who attended.

A celebration dinner at Aqua Group’s exciting new Tai Kwun restaurant The Chinese Library for FIF patrons and friends preceded the recital, which was kicked off with a Lighting Ceremony on the Parade Ground.

Honoured guests joined Michelle Ong for the ceremony, including Mr. Henry Tang, Mr. Peter Lam, Mr. Timothy Fok, Mr. Leon Ko, Mr. Stephen Ip and First Initiative Foundation’s new Artist in Support Mr. Juno Mak.

The Foundation prepared a special light art installation in collaboration with local curator Karen Chan to sparkle on the evening at the Tai Kwun Parade Ground for public viewing, furthering FIF’s already substantial art outreach.

2018

Quatuor Zaïde Recital

Quatuor Zaïde and Le French May present “The Magic Flute”.

First Initiative Foundation (FIF) sponsored this classical concert performed by Quatuor Zaïde, which consists of four well-established musicians, first violinist Charlotte Maclet, second violinist Leslie Boulin Raulet, Sarah Chenafon the viola, and finally Juliette Salmona on the cello.

They beautifully performed a couple pieces from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”, creating their own rendition also known as “Re-inventing the Magic Flute”. This highlights the importance of freedom of expression within the confines of Classical music.

FIF also partnered with Le French May and the Education Bureau to present a masterclass with Quatour Zaïde. 

2017

"I want..." charity recording

International superstar sensations Renée Fleming, Eason Chan and Lang Lang collaborated in support of First Initiative Foundation (FIF), on a charitable recording project produced by Leon Ko. The song “I Want…” was remastered from the 1950s release “I Want You to Be My Baby”, which became popular in Hong Kong with Grace Chang’s bilingual take on the jump blues hit.

This soon to be released CD was recorded in Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. The fun, upbeat song pays homage to the true power of music to unite us all.

2017

Geraldine Laurent and Le French May present ‘At Work’

First Initiative Foundation (FIF) sponsored this energetic, passionate jazz concert performed by Geraldine Laurent on saxophone, Paul Lay on piano, Donald Konotamanouon drums and Thomas Bramerieon double bass. The quartet performed their new album, ‘At Work’: produced by the notable Laurent de Wilde, this collection delves into the freedom of swing within jazz.
 
FIF also supported performances by Paul Lay and the Stephane Belmondo trio, and an FIF-sponsored Jazz Masterclass.

2017

masterclass and recital with Renée Fleming

A Masterclass and Recital with our Grammy Award winning FIF Honorary Advisor!
 
We love an opportunity to provide support for music. In June, First Initiative Foundation (FIF) collaborated with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to present a Renée Fleming recital, open to the 2000 members of the public and deserving students. Everyone enjoyed a glittering evening of music.
 
Later, Ms Fleming mentored promising young opera scholars in a special vocal masterclass! We are lucky to provide students a front row seat to Renée Fleming’s sparkling charisma and sensational voice.

2017

Stephane Belmondo Trio

Love for Chet: A tribute to one of jazz’s greatest influencers.
 
First Initiative Foundation (FIF) was pleased to sponsor this Le French May performance by Stephane Belmondo, who performed in a trio with Jesse Van Rulleron guitar and Thomas Bramerieon double-bass. The trio performed an album in loving memory of Chet Baker, the legendary jazz trumpeter who had once attended a show by Stephane Belmondo. This important tribute, performed immaculately by the trio, brought the energy and soul of Baker’s music back to Hong Kong audiences.
 
FIF was also pleased to sponsor two more jazz performances by Paul Lay and the Geraldine Laurent Quartet, in addition to a Jazz Masterclass.

2016

Voyage with Anne Queffélec

Anne Queffélec, an internationally renowned pianist, takes Hong Kong music lovers on a musical journey.
 
Described as an “exceptional influencer of music”, this was a fantastic evening of music presented by First Initiative Foundation (FIF) and Le French May to the Hong Kong community. Anne Queffélec’s "Voyage", a journey into the poetic world of music and culture, was a fantastic night of music in the community.
 
As part of FIF’s outreach, Anne Queffélec also presented a masterclass for Hong Kong students and teachers.

2015

Sa Chen and the Diotima Quartet

FIF brings a spectacular chamber music concert to Hong Kong!

Sa Chen, an outstanding young Chinese pianist with an incredible worldwide following, took to the stage for an evening with the Diotima Quartet. The French ensemble is one of the most sought after, and together with Sa Chen, the concert was a wonderful opportunity for First Initiative Foundation (FIF)’s community outreach in Hong Kong.

FIF was very happy to sponsor this event in partnership with Le French May, and we also presented a Sa Chen Masterclass  to benefit local music scholars.

2014

"The Reincarnation of Red Plum" Cantonese Opera

FIF celebrates Chinese tradition, culture and heritage: the art of Cantonese Opera.
 
First Initiative Foundation (FIF) worked closely with the Yam Pak Charitable Foundation to promote and preserve an important tradition – Cantonese Opera! We supported public performances of the legendary opera "The Reincarnation of Red Plum", starring the legends Connie Chan, Mandy Mui, Yam Ping-Yee and Franco Yuen.
 
FIF also supported a collectors’ limited edition volume of important Opera photographs, and held a fundraising dinner to benefit a variety of charitable programmes, including the Cantonese Opera programme at the HK Academy for Performing Arts. 

2014

101 Pianists

One hundred young pianists and Lang Lang: a unique social and educational masterclass.
 
FIF was proud to be part of Lang Lang’s "101 Pianists", a blend of masterclass and recital, in which Lang Lang simultaneously guided 100 young pianists to bring a glowing energy of music and young talent to the stage. This fantastic concert, performed globally and for the first time in Hong Kong, promoted music education and encouraged young pianists to perform together.

FIF’s partnership with Lang Lang’s Young Scholars is a fantastic charitable mentoring programme that helps some of Hong Kong’s most talented young pianists to gain incredible performing experience.

2014

Alexandre Tharaud Recital

FIF celebrates music with Alexandre Tharaud.
 
Internationally renowned French pianist Alexandre Tharaud gave his first performance in Hong Kong, sponsored by First Initiative Foundation (FIF) and Le French May. A delightful FIF cocktail reception welcomed guests and patrons. Tharaud’s signature sound of rich, full tones filled the Hong Kong Cultural Centre as he performed pieces by Mozart, Schubert, Ravel and Chopin. The community positive event brought Tharaud’s music to more than 2000 music lovers, and an outreach initiative by FIF and the Education Bureau provided tickets for the recital to young deserving students.
 
The previous evening, FIF held an Alexandre Tharaud Masterclass for outstanding music students and teachers in Hong Kong.

2013

‘Eason’s Life’ Concert

‘Eason’s Life’ celebrates Hong Kong, with a Cantopop concert in the HK Coliseum!
 
As part of our charitable ‘HK! HK!’ event, we celebrated Hong Kong’s remarkable music scene through the kind support of international super-star, nicknamed ‘God of Song’ – Eason Chan. Praised as a front-runner of his generation in Cantopop, Eason brings global recognition and new musical heights to the genre.
 
Eason Chan, FIF Youth Ambassador, kindly dedicated a whole night of his concert to First Initiative Foundation (FIF) for the ‘HK! HK!’ event. Some of FIF’s Artists-in-Support performed at Eason’s spectacular concert for more than 6000 excited fans. Pianist Lang Lang, classical guitarist Yang XueFei, violinist Wen Wei and world champion Latin dancers Michael Malitowskiand Joanna Leunis treated the audience to brilliant performances.

2013

An Evening with Renée Fleming

FIF supporters enjoy a wonderful evening of music followed by a fundraising dinner with guest of honour Renée Fleming.
 
Critically acclaimed soprano and musical ambassador Renée Fleming performed at a sold-out public recital supported by First Initiative Foundation (FIF), in partnership with the HK Government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
 
We are very happy to have Renée as an Honorary Advisor of FIF, with her remarkable musical talent benefiting our mission to enrich music, culture and mentorship in Hong Kong. In addition, FIF presented a masterclass  with the opera sensation for local students.

2013

Eric Le Sage Recital

Le Sage and Schumann: a fantastic recital.
 
First Initiative Foundation (FIF) was pleased to bring another exciting French musician to Hong Kong’s music lovers. FIF presented Eric Le Sage, whose warm and subtle sound has accelerated him into becoming one of the leading pianists of his generation.
 
The recital, in conjunction with Le French May, highlighted one of Le Sage’s areas of expertise, Schumann. This music initiative, accompanied by an Eric Le Sage Masterclass brought the best of classical music to Asia.