We as musicians and teachers are always looking for venues to organize concerts for ourselves and for students to perform in. However, I find booking a concert hall or simply a decent performance venue in Hong Kong particularly difficult.
To begin with, there are apparently not enough venues for us to organize concerts. All the music venues we are familiar with are under the subsidy of the Hong Kong government run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). Look at the big halls that we have here: City Hall has two main venues, the Grand Theatre and the Concert Hall. These halls are great but they are in general too big (and expensive even when you apply as a non-profit /charity organization). Its “High Block” building has a small Recital Hall that holds a little over 100 audience. It is popular among private teachers who holds student concerts, and organizations that presents smaller-scale lecture talks and preliminary round of music competitions. Thus the competition for booking the venue especially for the high season (festive holidays for example) can be fierce.
Other than the City Hall, we have the (in)famous Cultural Centre. It has the largest concert hall in Hong Kong for classical music purpose (there are music performance venues such as the Hong Kong Coliseum, the AsiaWorld-Arena, the Convention Centre etc for popular music concerts). To call it the largest in Hong Kong, it surprisingly only holds an audience of a little over 2000. The acoustics is notoriously under scrutiny over the years due to its infrastructure that, surprisingly and unfortunately, some seats at the two sides of the front rows provides the worst listening experience the audience could ever have in the hall.
A couple popular music venues at more convenient locations are the halls at the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre and Sheung Wan Civic Centre. They are not as central in terms of locations and formal as the other ones mentioned above, however but they sometimes serve the purpose of having a medium scale music performance organized by the local arts groups and music education centers in the community.
The other concert halls are mostly located in the more remote areas in the New Territories and Kowloon peninsula, for example, the concert halls at the Shatin Town Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, and Ngau Tau Kok Town Hall etc, to mention a few.
There are a couple odd venues we use frequently for small-scale concerts, competitions and lecture talks that are also run by the LCSD but are not originally for music performance purpose. These are the lecture halls at the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Hong Kong Space Museum. And legitimately enough, the pianos there are not maintained to the standard of a performance level albeit functional.
Other than those managed by the LCSD, there are music venues that are not under the subsidy of the government. For instance, there is Hong Kong Arts Centre : Agnès. b Theatre is quite a nice venue but it is not designed to provide the audience the most satisfying live music experience, with the standard of the piano etc- but that is another story I would like to explore further on (about the quality of pianos in music venues). Another venue managed by the Arts Center is the Shouson Theatre, but again it is a bit remote and not suitable for solo piano or small ensemble performance, to say the least.