20/10/2003
Press Release
Note No. 5821



Note to Correspondents


CONCERT TO BE HELD IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY HALL IN OBSERVANCE


OF UNITED NATIONS DAY, 24 OCTOBER


Swiss Orchestra to Perform


This year’s observance of United Nations Day, on 24 October, will be marked by a concert given by L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, in the General Assembly Hall, beginning at 7 p.m.


General Assembly President Julian Hunte, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and President of the Orchestra Metin Arditi will make opening remarks.  Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, will introduce the programme, which will consist of Exodes by contemporary composer William Blank, and Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel.


L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR) was founded in 1918 by Ernest Ansermet.  It is now an orchestra of worldwide reputation and has contributed actively to the history of music.  It has supported celebrated contemporary composers, including Benjamin Britten, Claude Debussy, Heinz Holliger, Arthur Honegger, Frank Martin, Darius Milhaud and Igor Stravinsky, among others.  Between 2000 and 2002, the OSR gave 10 world premières, in collaboration with the Radio Suisse Romande.  It recently commissioned a symphonic piece by the Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös and Geneva composer William Blank, whose work is featured in the concert.


From the early days, OSR’s concerts have been broadcast by Swiss national radio and heard by millions of people throughout the world.


The OSR has played in most major cities in Asia, Europe, and the United States (including Boston, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.).  It will be a guest orchestra at the Orange Festival in France in 2003 and 2004 and will undertake a tour of Europe in May 2004, under the direction of its Artistic Director, Pinchas Steinberg.


Maestro Steinberg was born in Israel and has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Orchestre National de France, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, among others.  He made his United States concert debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in December 2001.


His highly acclaimed recordings include Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, Catalani’s La Wally, and Richard Strauss’ Die schweigsame Frau.  His recording of Massenet’s Chérubin was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, German Critics Prize and the Cæcilia Prize.


The United Nations Day Concert is organized each year by the United Nations Department of Public Information to mark the anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter on 24 October 1945.  The 2003 concert is sponsored by the Government of Switzerland, with the support of the City and Canton of Geneva, Pro Helvetia–Arts Council of Switzerland, the Culture and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Section of the Swiss Foreign Ministry and Swiss WorldCargo, Swiss International Airlines, Ltd.


Accredited correspondents who wish to attend the concert should call (212) 963-6934.  For further information, call Slava Cherkasov at (212) 963-5097.  For media accreditation, call (212) 963-6934. 


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