At least one member of the Asian Youth Orchestra is performing with a new instrument this year. Although, technically, it's not a new instrument, it's new to 19-year-old Vince Nico Ocampo (right in picture), a bassoonist from the Philippines. The young musician was accepted into the orchestra's acclaimed performing programme in his first year of auditioning, using an instrument he had to borrow because he could not afford one of his own. His playing was impressive enough to draw extra attention from the orchestra's long-time bassoon coach, Matthew Ruggiero (centre). The respected teacher, in his 18th year with the group, is also a retired member of the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops orchestras. He played with those groups for 28 years, so he knows a thing or two about the bassoon. On learning of Ocampo's plight, Ruggiero - now a music educator at Harvard and Boston universities and the Longy School of Music in Boston - decided to give his own bassoon to the Filipino musician before the orchestra embarked on its tour. 'I have been impressed by the young bassoonist's commitment to hard work and study,' Ruggiero said. The instrument is valued at HK$50,000, but it's true worth to a developing young artist is probably priceless. The orchestra's Hong Kong concerts, conducted by Richard Pontzious (left) take place tomorrow and Friday at the Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Tickets range from HK$75 to HK$340 at Urbtix (27349009).