Hong Kong 12 April 2006 – The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) and Swire announced at a ceremony today the largest single corporate sponsorship the Orchestra has received in its history. The Swire Group Charitable Trust has committed to a sponsorship of HK$36 million to the Orchestra over the next three years, and Swire will be named the Orchestra's Principal Patron.
Edward Ho, Chairman of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society, thanked the Principal Patron for its generous support. "We are thrilled that Swire is demonstrating such visionary civic leadership by making this very significant commitment to the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Thanks to Swire's belief in our mission of achieving artistic excellence and maximizing the accessibility of great music, we will be able to realize the grand visions that Edo de Waart has for the Orchestra. As well as presenting concerts at the highest level, the Hong Kong Philharmonic will be able to bring classical music to a wider public and to celebrate the greatest musical talents of the past, the present and the future."
Christopher Pratt, Chairman of Swire Pacific Ltd., said: "Swire is delighted to be partnering the Hong Kong Philharmonic at this exciting time. We are proud to be making it possible for Artistic Director Edo de Waart to take the orchestra in new directions and bring its music to new audiences. Swire has a long history of supporting culture and the arts. In the past, we have helped bring many internationally acclaimed performers to Hong Kong, as well as assisting local artists to perform overseas. It is an honour to be involved in the continued growth of one of Asia's leading orchestras and to assist in their mission of bringing world-class music to people from all walks of life. In so doing, we hope to help raise Hong Kong's cultural profile on the international stage, foster the artistic development of our highly-talented local classical musicians, and enrich the lives of the people who have helped our businesses grow".
Swire's sponsorship will facilitate HKPO's vision to become one of the world's leading orchestras; and to include more large-scale symphonic works in its repertoire. Both sophisticated and new audiences will be delighted by the increased variety of programmes that the Hong Kong Philharmonic will be bringing to the community. In the 2006/07 Season, which runs from this September to the following July, HKPO plans to stage such events as a free outdoor, public concert; bring world-class artists on stage with the Orchestra; showcase outstanding young Chinese artists, as well as holding a series of adult educational activities that will increase the public's enjoyment and appreciation of classical music.
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ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is rapidly emerging as Asia's leading orchestra, since internationally renowned Edo de Waart joined as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor in the 2004/05 Season. Throughout the last three decades, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. Apart from giving over a hundred performances annually, many of which are highly anticipated events in the city's cultural calendar, it performs more than 70 free orchestral and chamber concerts for 70,000 primary and secondary school students a year. The Orchestra also joins hands with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to help nurture aspiring professionals.
Founded in 1816, Swire encompasses a wide range of commercial activities and its interests span five continents. Swire established its office in Hong Kong in 1867 where sugar refining, shipbuilding and engineering became important Swire businesses. Today, its principal interests in this region come under publicly quoted Swire Pacific, and include property development and management, airlines and aviation services, soft drink manufacturing, marine services, and a range of trading and industrial activities. Some of the best-known names in the Swire portfolio include Swire Properties (Pacific Place, Cityplaza, Festival Walk and TaiKoo Place), Cathay Pacific Airways and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering, Swire Coca-Cola (with seven production facilities in Mainland China, two in Taiwan, and one each in Hong Kong and the USA), the GigaSports and Marathon Sports chains. The Swire Group Charitable Trust was established in the 1980s as a means for Swire to give something back to the communities in which it carries on its businesses; the trust focuses primarily on educational and environmental programmes, as well as sponsorship of culture and the arts.