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Speech by CS at opening reception of Asian Youth Orchestra's concert in Hanoi (English only) (with photos)
     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening reception of Asian Youth Orchestra’s concert in Hanoi, Vietnam today (August 17):

Ambassador Hong (The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Vietnam, Mr Hong Xiaoyong), Richard (Artistic Director and Conductor of Asian Youth Orchestra, Mr Richard Pontzious), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to open tonight’s concert by the Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) on the Vietnam leg of its 2016 Asian tour.

     I am on a four-day official visit to Vietnam in my capacity as the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Apart from renewing ties with government officials and business people, I am gratified that by a happy coincidence, I am here tonight presenting to our friends in Vietnam a group of talented young musicians in this year’s AYO.

     AYO was founded in 1990 by Yehudi Menuhin and Richard Pontzious with a vision to create an orchestra that can unite young musicians from around Asia, allow them to give full play to their talents, and show to the world the power of music. Every summer, the orchestra will meet in Hong Kong for a three-week rehearsal camp at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. The fruits of the training and rehearsals are then shared with all music lovers in the form of a concert tour across Asia.

     AYO offers an exceptional international platform for its orchestra members to learn, to perform and, more importantly, to build fraternity and friendship that surpass boundaries. Over the past 26 years, more than 20 000 musicians aged between 17 and 27 have auditioned for a place in the orchestra. Of them, only 2 000 have been chosen. This year, we have with us 110 gifted musicians from 12 countries and regions of Asia, including an accomplished student violinist from Vietnam.

     Some people are amazed by the diversity of this orchestra in language, culture and nationality. Some others wonder if the vast differences put obstacles to the harmonies that every music virtuoso would like to achieve. I believe, however, it is not a worry to Richard, who is also the orchestra’s artistic director and conductor. Professional musicians are among the most capable to appreciate the value of differences. A combination of different musical notes may produce a pleasant consonance. An orchestra is an ensemble of different instruments through which a piece of music comes to life. And that’s what AYO has been doing year after year, concert after concert – bringing young people from different parts of Asia together, using the differences to create a perfect consonance.

     By no coincidence this time, “In Search of Perfect Consonance” is the title of the documentary film produced last year to celebrate AYO’s 25th anniversary. The documentary, which captures the story, the passion and the vision of AYO, is produced by Ruby Yang, a Hong Kong-born filmmaker whose documentary and drama works won her an Academy Award and numerous other international honours.

     Last year was indeed a memorable year for AYO. The orchestra received the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture and Community from the Nikkei media group. This is the first time this prestigious award is presented to an orchestra, and the first time to a Hong Kong organisation. Another accomplishment of AYO last year was the silver jubilee concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum. The orchestra’s alumni from all over the world performed at the concert, along with the renowned pop singer Alan Tam.

     This year, AYO has once again pulled together a wonderful concert tour for a new ensemble of young musicians, performing in Hong Kong, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Singapore, Hanoi, Taipei, Chiayi City, Nagoya, Ayase and Tokyo. When I met them in Hong Kong last month at the opening of the rehearsal camp, they were naturally excited about this opportunity to learn from the masters and to share with their peers the love of music. They have survived the demanding training and rehearsals and, in a moment, will play in front of us in their best shape.

     I am sure members of AYO will enjoy visiting and performing in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, and at the Grand Concert Hall of the Vietnam National Academy of Music, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The Academy is the first and biggest professional music training institution of Vietnam. It has a close rapport with music associations and conservatories around the world, including the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

     Let us appreciate the efforts of all in making AYO such a resounding success over the years and wish our young musicians a bright future. Please join me in enjoying tonight’s concert in a moment.

     Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:08
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The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, speaks this evening (August 17) at the opening reception of a concert of the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hanoi, Vietnam, supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore.
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, offers words of encouragement to a young musician of the Asian Youth Orchestra before their performance this evening (August 17) at the Vietnam National Academy of Music in Hanoi, Vietnam.