The world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has arrived in Hà Nội and is ready for their tonight concert – the first ever concert by a British orchestra in Việt Nam, the LSO managing director Kathryn McDowell said at a press conference in the capital yesterday.
“It’s a huge pleasure for the LSO to come to Việt Nam. As we know that we are the first British orchestra to perform in this country, all the musicians of the LSO, it’s the real joy to visit your very beautiful country,” she said.
McDowell also expressed her appreciation for the concert organisers, including the sponsor – national carrier Vietnam Airlines, and concert producer Thanh Việt Production.
“There is a growing link between our two countries and we are thrilled that you have been the ones to bring the orchestra and celebrate the culture exchange between Great Britain and Việt Nam,” McDowell said.
“That is the way we look forward to the future – by sharing our cultural experiences together and enhance our understanding through culture,” she added.
McDowell stressed that the LSO’s aim is to bring the greatest music to the widest possible audiences, and here in Hà Nội, the orchestra will be able to extend that idea to audiences in Việt Nam.
“Each year we have a large open-air performance in Trafalgar Square in London, so this is a similar event that we hope will bring musical passion to thousands of people in Hà Nội.”
For health reason, Hong Kong-born conductor Elim Chan will not be able to conduct tonight’s performance as announced in an earlier press release. Instead, Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann – German winner of the 14th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition in 2016, will take up the baton.
Attending the press conference yesterday, the 27-year-old conductor seemed shy when speaking with local media. He expressed his delight to be in Hà Nội together with the famous LSO.
Under Hoffmann’s baton, who has experience working with some of the most important orchestras in Germany, including the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Weimar, and the Leipzig Central German Radio Symphony Orchestra, the 95-member LSO will open the concert with Vietnamese national anthem, Tiến Quân Ca (The Marching Song) by Văn Cao.
The concert will continue with the overture Festive by Russian composer Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich, following by interludes Four Sea (Movements 1, 2, 4) by British Benjamin Britten.
The repertoire will also feature Symphony No 2 by Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff, with which conductor Hoffmann won the LSO Conducting Competition last November.
According to the concert organiser, alongside the main stage which has been set up on Lý Thái Tổ Square by Hoàn Kiếm Lake, the concert will be shown to an even larger audience via three 400-inch screens placed at both ends of Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street and in Đông Kinh Nghĩa Thục Square. “We’ve got a fantastic set up in the square, a wonderful sound system, so I think everyone will be able to enjoy it,” said LSO managing director McDowell.
Before the performance by the LSO, which will start at 7.45pm and last until 9.30pm, the Hà Nội-based Maius Philharmonic – Việt Nam’s only private symphony orchestra, conducted by Lưu Quang Minh, will take to the stage for a 30-minute show.