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05 September 2008

Hong Kong, 5 September 2008 – Star Chinese pianist Yundi Li will be the Artist-in-Residence with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) for the next three seasons, the Orchestra’s Chairman Mr Edward Ho announced tonight at the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra Season’s Opening Ceremony.

Yundi Li first collaborated with HKPO and its Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart in an unforgettable performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1 in January 2006, which seeded the beginning of this flourishing partnership between Li and HKPO. Earlier this year, this artistic partnership brought Hong Kong a series of powerful performances of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.2 and tonight the pair opened the HKPO’s new season with Ravel’s dazzling Concerto in G major.

As Artist-in-Residence, Yundi Li will appear with the Orchestra as a concerto soloist in each season from 2008/09 to 2010/11, taking the artistic partnership with Maestro de Waart into new fields of repertoire. Outside the concert hall, Li will engage in the Orchestra’s education and outreach programs by giving masterclasses for outstanding young Hong Kong pianists and will be the Ambassador of the Orchestra’s Young Audience Scheme, attracting young people to the Orchestra’s concerts through a membership scheme which includes the opportunity to meet Yundi himself and to ask him about his life, his work and his flourishing international career.

“The Orchestra and I have enjoyed tremendously the great experience of working with Yundi in the last two concerts in the past seasons, therefore I am most delighted to take this wonderful artistic partnership to the next level with Yundi as the Artist-in-Residence,” said Maestro de Waart.

He added, “In the last few years, our education and outreach programs have been expanded, thanks to HSBC’s support for the Creative Notes project and Swire’s sponsorship of a large range of activities, including Symphony Under The Stars. With Yundi as the Ambassador of our Young Audience Scheme, we are sure that many young music-lovers will be inspired to join our program and experience this superb young artist as performer, mentor or friend.”

“Maestro de Waart is one of the most sensitive and supportive conductors I’ve ever worked with. He has an uncanny ability to be right there with you, at every turn, inside every nuance,” observed Yundi Li. “I have also loved returning to Hong Kong over the last few years to hear his amazing transformation of the Hong Kong Philharmonic.”

“As a Hong Kong resident, I am very enthusiastic to work with young musicians in Hong Kong who have the talent and dedication to pursue a career in music,” Li added. “I am also a great supporter of the Orchestra’s efforts to develop a huge fan based among young people who love the same music that I do.”

“Each year, the Orchestra’s performances strive for new heights of artistic excellence and the community of Hong Kong has flocked to hear our wonderful musicians performing with many of the world’s greatest artists. Tonight’s concert with the superb Yundi Li and his residency set the tone for a stellar season to come,” Edward Ho added. “Through the combined support of the Hong Kong Government, sponsors and donors and the ever-expanding music-loving public, HKPO will continue to flourish, bringing distinction and vibrancy to this great city of ours.”

Dignitary guests attending tonight’s ceremony included the Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang, Swire Pacific Ltd. Chairman Mr Christopher Pratt, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation Investors Relations Department General Manager Mr Xiao Zongwei.

Swire Symphony under the Stars is the biggest outdoor symphonic concert of year in 2007, reaching 15,000 music lovers who attended the free concert. In season 2007/08, HSBC’s Creative Notes project benefited 34,000 students from primary, secondary, and special schools through student concerts, ensemble visits, master classes alongside with the supplemental music education kit Music Smart, kindly sponsored by HSBC Insurance. Other vastly successful outreach projects include Swire Classic Insights, In Tune with Island East, the annual collaboration with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and a lot more.

HKPO 2008/09 Season’s Opening Ceremony
From left: Christopher Pratt (Chairman, Swire Pacific Ltd.), Yundi Li, The Hon Donald Tsang, Edward Ho (Chairman, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra), Xiao Zongwei (General Manager, Investors Relations Department, China National Offshore Oil Corporation)

Yundi Li with HKPO Artistic Director & Chief Conductor Edo de Waart.

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Hailed as “one of Asia's top orchestras”, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is 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 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 including the city’s largest outdoor symphonic concert in Happy Valley, Swire Symphony under the Stars. Please visit 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.