Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Named WHO Goodwill Ambassador
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
GENEVA (AP) ó The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra ó once famous for playing for Austrian emperors and empresses ó will soon be performing for a different cause. On Monday [May 16], it was named goodwill ambassador by the U.N. health agency on the opening day of the annual World Health Assembly.
The World Health Organization hopes the Austrian orchestra will "use the universal appeal of music" to raise awareness on such issues as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and polio.
"It is indeed a great honor for the WHO to be associated with this prestigious orchestra, and I am grateful for their dedication to people's health," said Director-General Dr. Lee Jong-wook.
The orchestra said it would perform an unspecified amount of concerts to support WHO's work in these fields. The orchestra will also include information on WHO programs in the brochures and programs of its performances.
"The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to contributing even more than music to our audiences," said Dr. Clemens Hellsberg, the orchestra's president.
Hellsberg was accompanied by four members of the orchestra, who formed a string quartet to mark the opening of the 10-day assembly, WHO's top-decision making body.
In January, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra donated to WHO 100,000 euros (US$136,000) from its annual New Year's Concert to provide drinking water for tsunami survivors.
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