For a list of dance schools in Hong Kong, see Live > Continuing Education > Extracurricular and Special Interest Classes > Performing Arts, Dance and Music.
City Contemporary Dance Company
City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) is Hong Kong’s first full-time professional contemporary dance company. Over the past three decades, CCDC has inspired audiences in Hong Kong with modern dance performances of over 200 original works. The company has staged overseas performances at the world’s foremost dance stages and festivals.
Hong Kong Ballet
The Hong Kong Ballet has acted as Hong Kong’s ambassador to the world, performing in Europe, North America, Singapore and major cities in mainland China. The 40-plus dancers and a team of artistic directors originate from all over the world and perform classical masterpieces, contemporary works and special commissions.
Hong Kong Dance Company
The Hong Kong Dance Company has staged more than 100 productions that focus on the cultural traditions of China combined with the creativity of contemporary Chinese dance. The company has toured internationally as well as around mainland China as a way to encourage cultural exchange wherever it goes.
Popular Music and Jazz
In addition to the local music scene, Hong Kong attracts a constant stream of international artists who hold concerts in various venues around the city.
International Pop and Rock
AsiaWorld-Expo is the favored site for big-name performers like BTS, Katy Perry, The Killers, The Weeknd and Guns N Roses, while Clockenflap Music & Arts Festival, held in November, is Hong Kong’s biggest live music event (read more).
Jazz and Blues
The Hong Kong Jazz Association
Started in 2000, the Hong Kong Jazz Association is an organization of interest to all jazz lovers in Hong Kong. Their biggest event is the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival, which features various programs of performances by renowned international and local jazz musicians. The festival takes place in the fall of each year.
Live Music Venues
There are several venues in Hong Kong that play live music, with new places sprouting up all the time. Here are a few that have stood the test of time:
Bert’s Bar at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) hosts live jazz several nights a week, with Allen Youngblood on the keyboard and the FCC house band. Local jazz singers and musicians from across the globe regularly play at Bert’s stage. FCC is a members-only club, but guests of members can attend.
Fringe Dairy at the Fringe Club, named after its setting as an early 20th-century dairy shop, is a popular spot for jazz and cabaret in Hong Kong. Special music genre-themed nights are organized from time to time.
Ned Kelly’s Last Stand
Nightly jazz and live music is performed at one of Hong Kong’s oldest pubs on Ashley Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Fabulous live music in a down-to-earth setting that serves comforting, value-for-money pub grub.
Peel Fresco Music Lounge
Musicians from all over the world perform variations of jazz, blues, soul and reggae at this intimate venue on Peel Street in Central. Jamming sessions and open mic opportunities are available here too.
This Town Needs
If it’s something a bit more alternative you’re after, head to Ocean One in Yau Tong, East Kowloon. This Town Needs is an 18,000-square-foot concrete box that is the reincarnation of the ill-fated Hidden Agenda. It takes its name from British rock act This Town Needs Guns, who were arrested after performing at the unlicensed Hidden Agenda in 2017 — but unlike its predecessor, This Town Needs has its alcohol and performance licenses.
The Underground is dedicated to promoting the local independent music scene. It’s not itself a venue — it helps local bands to organize concerts at partner venues around the city. The current pandemic has taken its toll on the live music scene in Hong Kong, but these challenges are built right into The Underground’s DNA: the organization was created during the SARS epidemic precisely to help bands find places to play during a public health shutdown. They also publish interviews and reviews of local bands on their website.
Opera and Classical Music
Besides Hong Kong’s long tradition of Chinese operas, the city also offers some of the finest Chinese and Western classical music in Asia.
Chinese opera performances of all types — from Cantonese to Peking-style — are on virtually year-round. The Hong Kong government has increased funding to support arts groups and expand venues for training and performances by local artists. Groups perform different genres, with many mainland artists performing in Hong Kong. Unlike Western opera, Chinese operas are noisy, loosely scheduled and informal affairs. During performances in open-air theaters, audience members may arrive late or leave early, and come and go as they please.
The Sunbeam Theatre in North Point has been home to Cantonese opera for decades. Since 1972, the theater has been showing Chinese traditional art performances, particularly Cantonese opera, and its name has become synonymous with this centuries-old art form.
Shaking up the Chinese opera scene is West Kowloon’s shiny new Xiqu Centre, which opened in 2019 and is dedicated to conserving, promoting and developing Chinese opera. It is one of the only purpose-built venues for xiqu (Chinese traditional theater) in the world, with two theaters, eight professional studios and a seminar hall. Its 90-minute Tea House Theatre Experience is specially designed for audiences new to Cantonese opera.
Yau Ma Tei Theatre
Managed by the LCSD, Yau Ma Tei Theatre is a pre-war cinema building that was renovated and reopened in 2012 to reprise its role as a place of entertainment dedicated to Cantonese opera.
With a year-round calendar of classical music events on offer, one cannot experience true life in Hong Kong without attending at least one. Here are some of the most reputable orchestras.
Asian Youth Orchestra
The Asian Youth Orchestra is made up of around 100 of the finest young musicians in Asia, chosen through highly competitive auditions held throughout the region. These young men and women come together for six weeks each summer in a tuition-free cultural exchange program for Asia’s brightest young musicians. They spend three weeks together at rehearsal camp and then perform on tour for three weeks alongside international artists and conductors. The Asian Youth Orchestra has performed before standing-room-only crowds in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, at the White House and at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
City Chamber Orchestra
The City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong is renowned for its innovative programming and fine musicianship. Inaugurated in 1999, the ensemble comprises professional freelance musicians resident in the city. It gives regular concerts and specializes in the performance of a wide range of small and intimate works for orchestra.
Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is among the largest Chinese orchestras of its type in the world. The orchestra promotes Chinese music and explores new frontiers in music by experimenting with techniques and styles. Its repertoire includes both traditional folk music and contemporary works. Since its inception, the orchestra has commissioned over a thousand original compositions and arrangements and has performed around the world.
The orchestra promotes Chinese music and explores new frontiers in music by experimenting with techniques and styles.
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) was the first fully professional orchestra in Hong Kong. The ensemble turned professional in 1974, and when the Hong Kong Cultural Centre opened in 1989, the Concert Hall became its home. HK Phil also brings the excitement of the concert experience to the general public through radio and television broadcasts, as well as through their annual outdoor event, Swire Symphony Under the Stars. The Swire Sunday Family concerts are also popular, featuring some of the classics.
Hong Kong Sinfonietta
The Hong Kong Sinfonietta, originally a medium-sized amateur orchestra formed by local musicians in 1990, is now a professional orchestra with the mission of bringing classical music closer to the local community. Besides the standard repertoire, the orchestra often performs contemporary renditions of classical works, as well as new works by local composers. They participate in educational and community activities throughout the year, including regular free lunchtime concerts at Hong Kong City Hall.
Premier Performances of Hong Kong
Premier Performances of Hong Kong is a registered charity founded by Andrea Fessler in 2007. Its focus is to bring top-notch performances to Hong Kong, particularly solo recitals and chamber music concerts.
Western opera has gained a following among local Hong Kongers and the expat population. The Hong Kong Arts Festival always has some western opera offerings, and there are also a couple of local opera companies.
More than Musical
More than Musical is a nonprofit opera company that seeks to make the art form accessible to all audiences, cutting three-hour-long scores down to a trim 90 minutes. In addition to an annual full-scale production, the company also organizes “opera gigs” where young opera singers perform in bars and clubs in a relaxed atmosphere.
Now a household name in Hong Kong’s cultural scene, Opera Hong Kong not only stages operas and other performances throughout the year, it also runs opera appreciation programs for youth and the general public.
Opera Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s own opera company, Opera Hong Kong, was established in 2003. Now a household name in Hong Kong’s cultural scene, Opera Hong Kong not only stages operas and other performances throughout the year, it also runs opera appreciation programs for youth and the general public.