A Yamaha artist since 2013, Fung Ka-hing studied trumpet in Hong Kong and USA. He attained his Masters of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from the renowned Eastman School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music and a Professional Diploma from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
From 2007 to 2014, Fung served as principal trumpet of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. He has also worked with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the Macao Orchestra and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.
Presently, he is the Principal Trumpet of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, and also teaches trumpet at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and The Hong Kong Baptist University.
The Band Post speaks to Fung Ka-hing on his trumpet career as a musician and soloist, and his practice tips.
TBP: What is your current equipment setup?
I’m playing on Yamaha CHS on both Bb and C, to pair with my GR Zony 9C# mouthpiece.
TBP: You have performed with many orchestras in the region. What are some skills that you need as a principal and section trumpet player?
As a principal player, I try to be as stable as possible, not only in terms of intonation and rhythm, but also how I approach to music. I make sure my section knows exactly what I want when I express the music in a certain way.
As a section player I try to understand the habits of the principal player and how the orchestra would approach in terms of colours and articulations so that I can match my playing with them.
TBP: How do you ensure that you have successful rehearsals and performances during the orchestral seasons? Are there any rules you live by?
Well, to be honest you cannot be perfect all the time. The only thing you can do is good preparation. You have to know your part, and then the music.
I have to say that whenever the conductor comes on stage and rehearse, most of the time it is not the way you have practiced, so you have to be flexible to perform in their direction. Your preparation will definitely pay off!
TBP: In your experience, what is the most important element when preparing for an orchestral audition?
Audition is something you do not want to do everyday. It is really mentally and physically demanding.
You have to be very consistent in your performance; have good intonation, steady pulse and rhythm. You also have to play in various styles in the different types of music and at the same time to show your own character which most of the auditioners are looking for.
TBP: What warm up exercises do you use? Do you have any routines to suggest for building up on double or triple tonguing?
I do quite a bit of the James Thompson Buzzing basics, then some Cichowicz, Clarke and scales. Some routines I work on cover tone production, air flow for range extension, and tonguing.
Basically, if you know the concept of tonguing, you can go straight to the Arban studies. I believe that you will get everything you need for multiple tonguing in there.
TBP: What are some tips to expand the playing range of the trumpet?
If you are talking about the the playing register of the trumpet, I feel that if you already have a good concept on tone production, the range would not be a big problem for you.
If you are talking about the different styles of trumpet playing, I do suggest that you need to thoroughly understand all styles from baroque to contemporary.
My advice would be to listen and play them as it requires a lot of different perspectives to play the different types of music.
I do play in a lot of different types of music, from classical to little jazz, pop, musical theatre and modern work. Although each type of music have its own language, they are not hard to understand – they are awaiting your exploration!
TBP: What are some of the influences in your playing? Do you have idols that inspire you?
The most influential figures to me in my playing are of course my teachers.
They are James Thompson from Eastman who really changed my playing style; Laurie Gargan and Jonathan Clarke from HKAPA who showed me a high level of professionalism through our same-stage performing opportunities in HKPO; and Kenneth Fung, my trumpet mentor in Hong Kong who gave me a such good foundation.
Also, I would like to mention Alfonso Wong, my high school band master who taught me how wonderful music is, and taught me how to fall in love with music; and last but not least, Ray Mase and Kevin Cobb, whom I met in Aspen. They have inspired me to step up and do better in my playing, and also reminded me why I studied music.
Frankly, I am still learning everyday and I find that the people I meet each day inspire me in certain ways. Every person has his or her own strength, so it really depends on how you appreciate and learn from others.
A contributing editor at TBP.