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14th February 2009

Hong Kong, 14th February 2009 - At incredibly short notice, the 26-year old Assistant Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Perry So, picked up the baton to stand in for the ailing Edo de Waart in last night’s Nodame Live 2 concert at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium.

At around lunchtime yesterday, Maestro de Waart, the HKPO’s Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, was taken ill with a severe gastric virus and was unable to conduct the evening’s huge orchestral program of works by Rossini, Mozart, Dvorak, Ravel and Nielsen. The HKPO’s recently appointed Assistant Conductor Perry So received a call from HKPO management at 12:45pm and within three hours was standing on the podium for a last minute rehearsal with the 90 musicians of the Philharmonic. At the end of the rehearsal, the musicians gave the young conductor an encouraging round of applause and the stage was set for Perry’s debut in a full-scale concert.

Perry So impressed both the packed audience and the musicians of the Orchestra with his effortless command of this very demanding program, and the concert, which culminated in a thrilling performance of Ravel’s Bolero, received a standing ovation from the cheering audience.

“Without such a talented young conductor now on our team, we would have been in real trouble yesterday,” said de Waart by phone from his home on Admiralty. “Although I hate to cancel a performance, I knew that the Orchestra would be in very good hands last night, and the stream of phone calls I received from so many of our musicians this morning confirmed that Perry scored a major success last night.”

Edo de Waart is expected to be fully recovered for Saturday’s two sold-out performances of the same program.

Perry So first came to the Philharmonic’s attention one year ago when he won the 5th Prokofiev International Conducting Competition in St Petersburg.

Perry So
Conductor Perry Pakhin So was a prize winner at the 2008 Mitropoulous Competition held in Athens, Greece, and was commended by the Home Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR government for his international musical accomplishments.

So is currently Assistant Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, with and has a close relationship with the State Hermitage Orchestra of Russia (St Petersburg Camerata). Among the groups he has worked with are the St Petersburg Academic Philharmonic Orchestra, the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Weimar.

So's mentors include Edo de Waart, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustav Meier and the American scholar James Sinclair. He studied conducting under Gustav Meier at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. In 2007, So founded the YUE International Music Festival based in Huangshan, China, and serves as its Music Director. His engagements next season include debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the State Symphony Orchestra of Russia and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

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.
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is the Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.