Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Washington DC
Hong Kong

Remarks of Clement Leung
Hong Kong Commissioner to the United States

Asian Youth Orchestra reception
on August 8, 2017 in Washington, D.C.


Mr. (Richard) Pontzious, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for coming to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office as we welcome the Asian Youth Orchestra to Washington DC. August is usually a bit quiet in this town but I am delighted to see a good turnout. Of course, I am particularly pleased to have with us Jim Thompson, Chairman, and Richard Pontzious, founder, artistic director and conductor of the AYO.

It was some 27 years ago that Richard and Yehudi Menuhin first collaborated to form an orchestra dedicated to celebrating young Asian musicians. Since then the award-winning AYO has revealed remarkable musical talent and charmed audiences around the world.

The AYO is embarking on an ambitious global tour that covers 3 continents, 9 countries and 20 cities in just 45 days, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. While the tour is no doubt exhausting, it offers an excellent opportunity for young musicians in Asia to showcase their achievements and to build friendship.

Hong Kong shares AYO’s vision of nurturing talent, encouraging creative expression and promoting education in the arts. These objectives are integral to our efforts to strengthen Hong Kong’s role as the arts and culture hub, with the West Kowloon Cultural District as the focal point. The new district will provide ample space – physically and artistically – for young people to experiment, create and collaborate.

I wish to commend Richard for his vision in establishing the AYO. He has a distinguished career in music and is truly a friend of Hong Kong. Richard was awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong government and it is a fitting recognition of his tremendous contribution to our community.

I hope to see many of you again at the AYO concert at Wolf Trap tomorrow evening. And the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office is proud to be able to associate with AYO and support it in a small way.

Before I invite Richard to come up and say a few words, I would like to recommend a remarkable documentary of AYO’s story by Academy Award-winner and Hong Kong filmmaker Ruby Yang. Her short film, “In Search of Perfect Consonance,” profiles how the orchestra unearths musical talent and connects young people in our region. Our San Francisco Office has screened it in San Jose and we are looking for an opportunity to do so here. You can probably see it on YouTube but I will let you know when it is available for legal download on Netflix or other channels.

Now, let’s give a big round of applause to Richard Pontzious. Richard please.


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