Music lovers will be applauding a major contribution to the city's cultural life The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating its 30th anniversary in style with a host of concerts featuring local and international music celebrities. The high point of the season will be a series of three concerts next week featuring internationally acclaimed pianist Ivo Pogorelich, who will perform on consecutive nights, from October 1 to 3. The first concert will be a solo recital, and on the following two nights the pianist will join the Hong Kong Philharmonic as the soloist in a performance of the ever-popular Rachmaninov Second Piano Concerto. The grand finale concert, on October 3, will be followed by a gala dinner at the InterContinental Hong Kong. The programme is the first in the orchestra's season-long Star Power Series, which includes concerts featuring violinist Yuri Bashmet, Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen, and American violinist Hilary Hahn. Other big names taking part in the celebrations are Grammy-winning violinist Lin Cho-liang, who performed in the season's opening concert on September 12; American pianist Andre Watts; Russian violinist Vladimir Spivakov; young virtuoso pianist Lang Lang, conductor Carlo Rizzi, the London Philharmonic Choir, Platypus Theatre, Magic Circle Mime, and singer Frances Yip. A host of sponsors have thrown their support behind the gala evening on October 3, including the Sun Wah Group, one of the event's key sponsors. 'We are honoured to be the Diamond Piano Sponsor of the orchestra's 30th anniversary gala evening and National Day celebration,' says Sun Wah Group president Jonathan Choi. 'As a corporate citizen of a world-class city, we are committed to contributing to the development of cultural events and activities in Hong Kong. 'The Hong Kong Philharmonic has played an important role in fostering the cultural image of Hong Kong, and we are happy to see its continued growth and rising standards, and its increasing commitment to the community at large.' The event is seen as a golden opportunity for the body to raise funds for the orchestra's long-term development. Janice Choi, chairperson of the gala dinner and general committee member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society, is pleased with the response from the community. 'We have received tremendous support from our corporate sponsors,' she says. 'All the tables for more than 300 guests for the gala evening were sold out within one month, raising more than $1.5 million in net proceeds. The funds will be used to support the further development of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and enhance our programmes for the community.' Mrs Choi is pleased with the support received from the InterContinental, which will provide catering for the entire 30th anniversary gala, press conference, cocktail receptions, the gala dinner and accommodation for the guest artists. 'The Hong Kong Philharmonic works closely with our corporate partners to deliver world-class programmes,' Mrs Choi says. 'Through this successful fund-raising event, we have been encouraged to get the support of more corporate sponsors in future.' Tickets are selling fast for the Pogorelich concerts. The pianist, who has been hailed as one of the outstanding musicians to emerge in the past two decades, has impressed audiences worldwide. He has performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, South America, and Israel. He made his debut at New York City's celebrated Carnegie Hall in 1981. Born in former Yugoslavia in 1958, Pogorelich started piano classes at the age of seven, and was soon acclaimed as a child prodigy. In his solo recital on October 1, he will be performing signature works from his concert repertoire. These include two sonatas by Beethoven, in F sharp major (Opus 78, a Therese), and the monumental Opus 111, in C minor; Scriabin's ocean-inspired Sonata No 2 (Sonate-Fantasie) and Deux Poemes; and three Transcendental Etudes by Franz Liszt (No 5 Feux Follets (Flames), No 8 Chasse Sauvage (The Hunt) and No 10). On the following two nights, when the pianist performs Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto, which is regarded as a pivotal work for the composer, the Hong Kong Philharmonic will also perform two dramatic orchestral masterpieces: Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, the French composer's most famous work. Ion Marin will be guest conductor on the second and third nights. An exponent of romantic music, Marin has conducted the London Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, and the Orchestre National de France. He has won three Grammy nominations, the Deutsche Schallplatten Critic Prize and the Diapason Palme d'Or. Marin made his debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in April 2002. The official hotel and major sponsor is the InterContinental Hong Kong, which will host the gala dinner after the concert. 'The launch of the hotel's newly renovated grand ballroom on the same day also goes well with our celebrations,' says Paul Leung Sai-wah, the Philharmonic's chief executive.