Asian Youth Orchestra launches 2017 North American and European tour in San Jose (with photos)

     The Asian Youth Orchestra (AYO) launched its 2017 North American and European tour in San Jose, California, today (August 4, San Jose time). The world tour began in Hong Kong and continued to Beijing and Tokyo before crossing the Pacific to California for shows in San Jose and Berkeley. The orchestra will then perform in the East Coast of the United States and later cross the Atlantic for a further 11 concerts in Europe.

     The AYO's 2017 world tour, which includes a total of 22 concerts in 20 cities across three continents, is an international musical celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

     The AYO's 109 members are among the finest young musicians in Asia. Selected through highly competitive auditions held every year throughout the region, they gather together for six weeks in the summer, initially for a three-week Rehearsal Camp in Hong Kong and then for a three-week international concert tour with celebrated conductors and solo artists.

     At the pre-concert reception hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco, at the Hammer Theatre Center in San Jose, the Office's Director, Mr Ivanhoe Chang, gave a warm welcome to the musicians.

     "Hong Kong, a place where East meets West, has a wide and enticing range of cultural and artistic offerings. Musicians, artists, galleries, cultural institutes and commentators from around the globe can be found in Asia's world city, helping to instil innovation, vitality and dynamism into society. We thank the AYO for choosing Hong Kong as its base and bringing a group of talented musicians to the city every year for training and rehearsal," he said.

     In concert, works by Strauss and Beethoven were performed by the young musicians and conducted by the Founder and Artistic Director of the AYO, Mr Richard Pontzious.

     Mr Pontzious is no stranger to the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Jose, home of his alma mater San Jose State University (SJSU). To mark the occasion, the College of International and Extended Studies at SJSU presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award to Mr Pontzious at the reception. The award recognises his work with the AYO to bring about unity through music and celebrate the young talent across the Asian region.

     "It is my pleasure to recognise one of our own graduates who extended SJSU's impact globally. The Asian Youth Orchestra, founded in 1990, is known as one of the finest youth orchestras," the Dean of the College of International and Extended Studies, Dr Ruth Huard, said. "The young musicians at the AYO, chosen each year in highly competitive auditions, receive a once-in-a-lifetime experience during their summer. Your extraordinary work in music training, character building and life changing reflects the best of SJSU."

     The AYO will give a performance in Berkeley on August 5.

Ends/Saturday, August 5, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:45