Hong Kong, 16 November 2007– The internationally renowned Dutch conductor, Edo de Waart, will remain as Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra's Artistic Director and Chief Conductor until the year 2012. The good news was announced by Mr Edward ST Ho, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society Limited, after an immensely successful performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 6.
One of the world's major conductors, de Waart has appeared with leading symphony orchestras and opera companies in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. De Waart took up the position of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic in October 2004.
Mr Edward ST Ho said: "On behalf of the Board of Governors, I am delighted to announce that the Hong Kong Philharmonic has just signed a new contract with Maestro Edo de Waart, extending his artistic direction of the Orchestra through until 2012. This is a thrilling and timely development which will see Maestro de Waart build on the tremendous achievements of the last three years and will guarantee the Orchestra’s emergence as the leading musical force in this region. We are honoured to be able to continue the inspiring relationship between our Orchestra and one of the world's leading conductors. The future of music in Hong Kong is looking very bright indeed."
Maestro Edo de Waart said: "We have worked extremely hard in these last three years, and the Orchestra and I have had some very exciting concerts, so I'm very happy that we have extended my contract. This week's Mahler 6 has been a wonderful reminder of how good it is to work with them and what they are capable of. Our mission now has a new impetus, knowing that the West Kowloon Cultural District is going to become a reality. I want the Hong Kong Philharmonic to reach its absolute peak in preparation for a "short march" to a stunning new hall on the headland at West Kowloon. In the meantime I am looking forward to many years of wonderful music-making with them."
The announcement dispelled any speculation that the Maestro would be leaving Hong Kong, following his decision to move his family to the United States earlier this year. His commitment to the Hong Kong Philharmonic is undiminished and his pursuit of the highest standards of musical excellence is unflagging.
Since Edo de Waart's arrival three years ago, number of paid attendance has risen over 20% and participation in outreach activities over 30%. Income from box office and fund-raising also rose over 50%. The total paid attendance at the end of the 2006/07 season averaged 82%. Swire, the Orchestra's Principal Patron, and The Robert H N Ho Family Foundation are among its most prominent sponsors. Both pledge long-term support to the Orchestra, the latter in support of an orchestra fellowship scheme which benefits outstanding young Chinese string players. De Waart was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2006, in recognition of his contribution to music internationally, and in particular, his commitment to developing future generations of musicians in Hong Kong.
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ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Hailed as "one of Asia's top orchestras", the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is one of the leading orchestras in the region, led by the internationally renowned Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart. Enriching Hong Kong's cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents in the last three decades, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. In April 2006, The Swire Group Charitable Trust became the Hong Kong Philharmonic's Principal Patron, committing HK$36 million over three years to enable Maestro de Waart's artistic vision for the Orchestra to be realized. HKPO annually touches the lives of 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances, including a series of outreach activities such as the free outdoor concert Symphony under the Stars which attracted 20,000 people. Please visit www.hkpo.com for more information about the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.