Conductor Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann (centre) speaks at a press conference in Hanoi on March 3 (Photo courtesy of the organiser)

Hanoi (VNA) – The world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has arrived in Hanoi and is ready for their March 4 night concert – the first ever by a British orchestra in Vietnam, the LSO managing director Kathryn McDowell said at a press conference in the capital on March 3.

“It’s a huge pleasure for the LSO to come to Vietnam. 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 Viet 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 Vietnam,” 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 Hanoi, the orchestra will be able to extend that idea to audiences in Vietnam.

“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 Hanoi.”

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, the 27-year-old conductor seemed shy when speaking with local media. He expressed his delight to be in Hanoi 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, Tien Quan Ca (The Marching Song) by Van 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 Ly Thai To Square by Hoan Kiem Lake, the concert will be shown to an even larger audience via three 400-inch screens placed at both ends of Dinh Tien Hoang Street and in Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc 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 Hanoi-based Maius Philharmonic –Vietnam’s only private symphony orchestra, conducted by Luu Quang Minh, will take to the stage for a 30-minute show.-VNA