Asian Youth Orchestra to perform in Taipei

One-third of orchestra's performers hail from Taiwan

Asian Youth Orchestra will perform at the National Concert Hall on Aug. 18 and 19. (CNA photo)

Asian Youth Orchestra will perform at the National Concert Hall on Aug. 18 and 19. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Asian Youth Orchestra, about 30 percent of which are Taiwanese performers, will perform at the National Concert Hall in Taipei on Aug. 18 and 19.

The Asian Youth Orchestra, the cradle of Asian music talents, will give two performances in Taipei. The orchestra will be led by artistic director and conductor Richard Pontzious and guest conductor Joseph Bastian, according to the Central News Agency.

A total of 30 Taiwanese musicians have been chosen to play in the orchestra this year, comprising a third of its members, the largest proportion of any country. Many famous Taiwanese musicians have been trained in the orchestra, and renowned Taiwanese harpist Shannon Shuen Chieh (解瑄) has served as an instructor with the group in recent years.

The Asian Youth Orchestra was founded by Yehudi Menuhin and Richard Pontzious in 1990 and has become a well-known training ground for aspiring classical musicians. The orchestra recruits nearly 100 young musicians across Asia each year and provides them with training in Hong Kong before taking them on a concert tour around the world.

The orchestra has been praised by critics as "the best youth orchestra in the world" and has performed at New York's Lincoln Center, the White House, and the UN Headquarters. The symphony has received prestigious awards including Japan's Praemium Imperiale and Nikkei Asia Prize in 2010 and 2015, respectively, according to their official website.

The first show in Taipei will be conducted by Richard Pontzious and Mone Hattori, who in 2009 was the youngest ever winner of the Lipinski Wieniawski International Violin Competition, will be the violin soloist. The program consists of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Capriccio Espagnol.

Joseph Bastian will be the conductor for the second concert, and Rachel Cheung from Hong Kong will take up the role of the piano soloist. The program will include Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major, and Brahms' Symphony No. 4, according to the National Theater and Concert Hall's website.