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Speech by CS at opening ceremony of 23rd Annual Asian Youth Orchestra Summer Festival and Rehearsal Camp (English only) (with photo/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Annual Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) Summer Festival and Rehearsal Camp this morning (July 22):

James (Thompson), Richard (Pontzious), distinguished guests, young musicians from across Asia:

     Good morning.  

     It is indeed my greatest pleasure to welcome the 98 gifted young musicians from across Asia to Hong Kong for the Asian Youth Orchestra's (AYO) 23rd annual Rehearsal Camp.

     Selected through a very competitive audition process, chosen from among 800 musicians, the AYO members represent the most accomplished music students from 11 countries and regions in Asia.  Recognised around the world as Asia's premiere pre-professional orchestra, the AYO was named the 2010 recipient of Japan's Praemium Imperiale Grant for young artists, Japan's highest award for artistic achievements.

     We are very proud for Hong Kong to be the home base of the AYO for the past 23 years.  Thanks to the efforts and leadership of Richard, during these years, the AYO played a very important role in promoting arts and culture in Hong Kong.  Whatever their nationality, members of the AYO are the best ambassadors from Hong Kong, celebrating in their performances the cultural life of the territory and setting the stage of our new West Kowloon Cultural District.  And by the way, my CEO, Michael Lynch is here.  He will be welcoming you as a professional orchestra in our future venues in West Kowloon Cultural District.

     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is fully committed to strengthening the cultural software and the promotion of arts education.

     The Arts Development Fund (ADF), which aims at supporting local artists and arts organisations to undertake outbound cultural exchange activities of various art forms, has been providing financial support to AYO's concert tours since 2004.  This year, a provisional fund of $710,000 is granted to support the coming concert tour. Of course, more have been come from our distinguished sponsors.  In addition, the Home Affairs Bureau has also offered a sponsorship of $500,000 to support this very meaningful Rehearsal Camp.  Our Economic and Trade Offices in Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo have also been providing financial and promotional support to the AYO's concert tours.

     I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to AYO's many donors and sponsors from Hong Kong and across Asia.  Their generosity speaks volumes for their commitment to philanthropic endeavours and the noble work of nurturing our young musicians.

     After three weeks of what are surely to be exhausting rehearsals in Hong Kong, the AYO will open its concert tour involving 15 concerts over 21 days in 9 cities across Asia, including Hong Kong.

     So may I wish the AYO and all our young musicians all the best in its future endeavours, and the upcoming Rehearsal Camp and concert tour a resounding success.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, July 22, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:05


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