In 2008, Austin Leung was awarded a half scholarship to study at the University of Hong Kong, majoring in Medical Engineering. In his second year of study, he occasionally joined the University choir, which served as an enlightenment and the start of a musical journey for him. Deeply inspired, he started learning and practicing music for around six hours a day. Two years later, he acquired his first ABRSM Grade 8 certificates in both violin and music theory.
In 2010, Leung realised that, no matter how hard he practiced, it was far too late to start a career as a violinist. Nevertheless, still wishing to embark on a career in music, he began to study composition, which he fell more in love with every day. In 2014, Leung quit his full-time job and began a full-time Advance Diploma course (composition) at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Leung’s composition is distinctive for its integration of contrasting musical materials in the same work, ranging from tonal, expressive melodies to brutal contemporary ‘noise’. Such a compositional approach echoes Leung’s philosophical belief that the world is united yet also diverse. If the most contradictory musical materials can combine perfectly in the same piece, then humans, regardless of background or culture, should be able to coexist in the same world without discrimination, prejudice and war. Such a message is especially important in this era and Leung believes that music is one of the most effective platforms to deliver this message.
Retaining this belief, Leung’s music has won a number of prizes and awards, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize 2017.
Recent performances of Leung’s works include Prelude performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Serenity by the Ostrava New Orchestra and Life of Trout by the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. The latest work will be performed by the Alion Baltic International Music Festival Orchestra this summer.
With the support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund, Leung is currently enjoying the sights and sounds of London while studying for his MA in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music.