The World Orchestra for Peace is unique, its players being the finest, drawn from over 70 leading orchestras around the world, representing some 40 countries. All the players give their services and play under their conductor Valery Gergiev to demonstrate, in the words of its founder, Sir Georg Solti, “the unique strength of music as an ambassador for peace”. Unity is the key message of the Orchestra; the musicians come together for just a few days for a performance to show that it is possible for people of different race, religion, colour and creed to work together to achieve a goal – exquisite music – harmony and hopefully – peace.

The Orchestra will perform in Krakow, Poland on Tuesday 1 September to mark the 70th anniversary, to the day, of the outbreak of World War II in Poland. The programme will include Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 5. The Mahler Symphony No.5 will be preceded by the world premiere of Krzystof Penderecki's 'Prelude for Peace' - a WOP commission - in the presence of the composer. The concert will take place in the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul and will be relayed by simultaneous broadcast to screens located both on the Market Square and the Little Market Square. In the prestigious Travel Awards 2008 ranking held annually by The Guardian newspaper, Krakow was ranked second favourite amongst cities of the world. The concert will be organised by the Krakow Festival Office. The World Orchestra for Peace will then perform in Stockholm on Wednesday 2 September 2009 as part of this year’s Baltic Sea Festival marking the same 70th anniversary.

The World Orchestra for Peace comes together only on special occasions to promote peace or celebrate reconstruction – the essence of its special mission. In July 1995 Sir Georg Solti had been asked by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali to conduct a special concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. 81 leading musicians came together to give the first concert of the World Orchestra for Peace. The second occasion when the Orchestra was due to reassemble was for the inaugural concert of the new Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden in 1998, but tragically Sir Georg Solti died in September 1997. Valery Gergiev was invited to succeed Solti as its Conductor, the role he has fulfilled since then.

At the 2000 BBC Proms the Orchestra played Debussy’s La Mer and Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the London Blitz. At the invitation of Valery Gergiev the Orchestra played at the opening of the Stars of the White Nights Festival and Celebrations of St Petersburg’s 300th anniversary in May 2003 and to close the Moscow Easter Festival. In 2005 the Orchestra marked the 60th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in the Far East with the Credit Suisse Tour, which presented four concerts in London, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing. The Solti Memorial Tour in 2007 saw the Orchestra perform in Rotterdam, Budapest and Brussels.

The World Orchestra for Peace gave a highly acclaimed concert in Jerusalem to a capacity audience on 19 October 2008, carrying the message of peace to Israel and the Middle East. The Orchestra was co-led in Jerusalem in a performance of Mahler Symphony No 5 by an Israeli violinist and a Jordanian violinist.

'We are honoured to have been invited by the beautiful City of Krakow, to mark this most moving anniversary and to look forward together to its flourishing future.’ Charles Kaye, Director, World Orchestra for Peace.


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