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Speech by CS at Asian Youth Orchestra Rehearsal Camp opening ceremony (English only)(with photo/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Asian Youth Orchestra Rehearsal Camp opening ceremony at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts this evening (July 20):

Jim (James Thompson), Consul General (Hitodhi) Noda, Mrs Noda, Rupert (Hogg), Richard (Pontzious), Alan (Tam), distinguished guests, young musicians from across Asia,

     Good evening. It is indeed my great pleasure to attend and welcome you all to the opening ceremony of the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) Rehearsal Camp, for the third successive year. AYO is an ensemble that brings together young musicians from countries across Asia. Let me first extend a very warm welcome to the 103 gifted musicians from Mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and of course also Hong Kong. I am particularly delighted to learn that 17 of them are our local musicians. These young musicians, whatever their nationality, are vivid examples of how music transcends language and cultural barriers.

     This year's camp promises to be a particularly memorable one as the Orchestra celebrates its 25th anniversary and has received the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture and Community from the Nikkei media group. This is the first time the award has been presented to an orchestra, and the first time to a Hong Kong organisation or an individual. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Orchestra in receiving this prestigious award.

     Riding on 25 years of dedication, AYO has nurtured quite a number of young artists, enriched the cultural life across Asia and unleashed young musicians' talent. Your commitment and devotion are also essential for helping young musicians reach their full potential and make their dreams come true. Every year, AYO runs a three-week rehearsal camp and an annual tour to various Asian cities, which not only brings opportunities for cultural and social exchanges, but also fosters the career development of young musicians. We are very proud to be the home of the AYO for the past 25 years.

     The remarkable profile and renowned history of AYO add colour and vibrancy to the arts scene of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is committed to developing Hong Kong into one of the major cultural hubs in the world. With the opening of new performing arts venues like the Xiqu Centre, Freespace and the Lyric Theatre Complex in the West Kowloon Cultural District, I am sure that many of our talented musicians will soon have the chance to perform at venues along our spectacular West Kowloon harbourfront in the not so distant future. Prior to the commissioning of these venues, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority has been organising pre-opening programmes for performing arts and visual culture to enhance public awareness, groom arts talents and build audiences. One of the upcoming events is a series of musical performances in the Temporary Tree Nursery Park in West Kowloon with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in late 2015 and early 2016.

     I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude here to all sponsors of this exceptional annual international tour. Your staunch support and generosity have not only helped the Orchestra flourish in the past 25 years, but also raised the profile of Asia's musical talent.

     To celebrate its silver jubilee, AYO will present a special 25th anniversary concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum with the support of the project grant under the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme of the Home Affairs Bureau. I have already indicated that I would like to personally attend the concert. And I did so without knowing that our pop star king, Alan is going to perform at the concert. The highlight of the concert will be the return and participation of the Orchestra's alumni from all over the world. What's more, AYO has expanded its programme to create the Hong Kong Music Summer Orchestra, which extends the opportunity to over 100 local musicians, mostly students, to have a taste of the orchestral experience. Members of the Summer Orchestra will also have a chance to participate in workshops and masterclasses coached by AYO alumni and AYO's distinguished Artist-Faculty and to perform with AYO in its 25th anniversary concert. This should be a great experience for those who aspire to become members of AYO. I look forward to the splendid and memorable performance.

     Finally, I wish the AYO 2015 Rehearsal Camp and Tour a great success and hope that all of you will have a fulfilling and enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Monday, July 20, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:53


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