Ashkenazy and Philharmonia charity concert attracts world's press
Last Saturday evening, a Royal Festival Hall audience was given the chance to hear some of the repertoire which the Philharmonia Orchestra and its Conductor Laureate, Vladimir Ashkenazy had taken on their hugely successful seven-concert tour of China and South Korea, including a dazzling performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition, Sun-wook Kim.
The Philharmonia and Ashkenazy began their tour with a concert at the prestigious National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, after which they flew to Xi'an - home of the Terracotta Army - to perform Brahms and Beethoven at its brand new concert hall. To coincide with the opening of EXPO, on 1 May, the Orchestra and Ashkenazy gave performances of Beethoven's Fourth and Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony at the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai. Following this, they travelled to Seoul, Korea to perform two concerts in Seoul’s Arts Center, the first with Sun-wook Kim and the second featuring the famous violinist Kyung Wha Chung, making a triumphant return to the stage after a gap of five years due to injury, performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto.
The following day, fifty members of the Philharmonia Orchestra along with Vladimir Ashkenazy made a first-ever trip to the island of Sorok, off the south-west coast of Korea to give a charity concert. The first-ever performance on the island, the concert was arranged by one of the Philharmonia's trustees, Lady Rothermere, to raise awareness of Hansen’s disease and the suffering of those affected by the illness. The patients, whose average age is 73, enjoyed listening to a live orchestra for the first time in their lives. The concert was attended by the Korean Prime Minister, the British Ambassador to Korea and other dignitaries. The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Philharmonia Orchestra, also recorded a video message which was played to the audience. The event attracted the attention of the world’s press, with many major news organizations represented at the concert.
A sample of their reports can be found below.