International Herald Tribune

Vladimir Ashkenazy is to become the first artistic laureate of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for that city's tenure as the European Capital of Culture in 2008, The Guardian of London reported.
The pianist and conductor, who is the music director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan and the European Union Youth Orchestra, said the Liverpool orchestra's performance of Mahler's Second Symphony inspired him at the age of 11 to become a conductor. "Liverpool and the RLPO occupy a very special place in my heart," he said.
Ashkenazy announced his defection in the city when he left the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

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