ARIA 空氣頌

Eugene Alexander BIRMAN (Composer), Kingsley S K NG (Designer), Johnny M L POON (Conductor), Li CHEN (Developer)

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


ARIA 空氣頌 (2020) is an 80-minute work for five solo singers (the Grammy/Pulitzer-winning Theatre of Voices), children’s choir (Hong Kong Children’s Choir), and live and pre-recorded electronic effects, the product of a two-year collaborative research project (RC-IRCs/17-18/01) funded by the university through the IRC and KTO and by the HK government through the LCSD, and presented as part of the ReNew Vision Festival. It is the first-ever collaborative presentation and co-commission between our university and the LCSD’s festival programming. The work debuted in November 2020 as both virtual reality online release and in sixteen live shows which sold out in fewer than five minutes. The work combines computer science research on pollution levels in Hong Kong and attitudes to air pollution by both locals and visitors with an artistic production called “a breakthrough in public art” (ReNew Vision Festival), highlighted by the SCMP and a feature article in the Financial Times. The public concerts were visited by high-ranking officials from the LCSD, HAB, WKCD, local arts organizations and business leaders, as well as students and community members over the course of two weeks. The project ended up as the underpinning ‘arts’ research for the university’s Theme-based Research Scheme grant, Building Platform Technologies for Symbiotic Creativity, and highlighted HKBU’s world-class stature in the arts by winning the Times Higher Education Asia Innovation and Excellence in the Arts award, the only Hong Kong university to take an award in 2021. ARIA 空氣頌 was also one of the feature events at the university’s booth at the 2022 HK InnoCarnival. A website (, a five-minute VR film, and a full-length documentary were produced with over 60,000 views online. The work also serves as the basis for the first original co-commission between the LCSD and the Manchester International Festival (MIF) which will further explore the nexus of art and technology in a cross-continental premiere planned for 2025.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNew Vision Arts Festival
Media of outputOther
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Music


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