The orchestra has been bestowed with the inaugural Asia Society Australia-Chopard Passion for Excellence award, honouring excellence in the field of cultural diplomacy, at the Asia Society Australia 20th Anniversary Gala in Sydney.
The prestigious award was received by David Robertson, the SSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, on the eve of the orchestra’s fifth tour to China in September.
The SSO’s first overseas tour in 1965 included concerts in Manila, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Doug Ferguson, Asia Society Australia chairman, said: “Cultural diplomacy strengthens, broadens and deepens relations between the nations of the world. For five decades, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has led the way in enhancing understanding of Australia and promoting the nation’s cultural achievements throughout the region. Asia Society Australia commends their ongoing commitment to being a leading cultural ambassador for Australia.”
Sydney Symphony Orchestra Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson said: “We at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra are incredibly honoured to accept this award. As we prepare for our fifth tour to China next month, we are grateful to the Asia Society for helping organisations like the SSO share our music with our nearest neighbours. We thank you for your continued support in helping us to build meaningful relationships in the Asia- Pacific and congratulate you on celebrating 20 years in Australia.”
At the 20th Anniversary Gala, the society also honoured three individuals who were instrumental in the establishment and growth of Asia Society Australia: founding Chairman Hugh Morgan AC, founding Director Richard Woolcott AC, and Immediate Past Chairman,The Hon Warwick Smith AM.
Philipp Ivanov, Chief Executive Officer of Asia Society Australia, said: “We are indebted to Hugh, Dick and Warwick for the enormous role they have played in furthering Australia-Asia relations and their tireless efforts in helping to make Asia Society Australia the leading national centre for engagement with the region that it is today.”