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BBC PROMS 2000: PEACE PROM (article first published : 2001-08-12)

On August 12 at 18h00, BBC Prime on DStv introduces a concert given by charismatic conductor Valery Gergiev, who brings the World Orchestra for Peace (over 105 top players from 27 lands) to the Royal Albert Hall for a Proms programme of Debussy and Shostakovich.

The World Orchestra for Peace was the creation of acclaimed conductor Sir Georg Solti. It was formed when he was asked to conduct a special concert in July 1995 in Geneva to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Solti hand-picked an ensemble from the finest musicians around the world, to demonstrate the power of music as an ambassador for peace.

Georg Solti gave his final concert on the last Friday of the Proms in 1996 and was due to return in 1997 but died one week earlier. Valery Gergiev took over this orchestra which performed to celebrate the opening of the 1997 Baden-Baden Festspielhaus.

The concert to be broadcast on BBC Prime features the World Orchestra for Peaces third concert and has a double significance. It was on the penultimate night of the proms that Solti conducted his last Prom. September 8 also marks 60 years since Goering launched the Blitz which, amongst much other devastation, destroyed the Queen's Hall - the first home of the Proms.

The orchestra will perform the great wartime symphony, No. 7 Leningrad, which Shostakovich wrote while working as an emergency fire-fighter in war-torn Leningrad. The violence of man-made warfare contrasts with the ebb and flow of Debussy's shimmering seascape, La Mer.




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