Concert to commemorate Second World War

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World Orchestra for Peace to play in Krakow

The start of the Second World War is to be commemorated in a concert in Poland given by the World Orchestra for Peace. Conducted by Valery Gergiev, the performance, which takes place tonight in the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Krakow, marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war.

Opening with the world premiere of the Polish composer Penderecki’s Prelude for Peace, the programme includes a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. A live relay will broadcast the concert to the Market Square in Krakow, while audiences round the world will be able to listen in via the American broadcaster CNN. Following the performance in Poland, the orchestra will then fly straight out to Stockholm in Sweden to perform the same programme as part of the Baltic Sea Festival.

The World Orchestra for Peace was set up in 1995 by the late conductor Sir Georg Solti to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. It aims to show ‘the unique strength of music as an ambassador for peace’, and on special occasions leading orchestral musicians from over 40 countries around the world join forces to give concerts promoting peace or celebrating reconstruction.

‘You can feel the spirit of this ensemble. The camaraderie, the friendship and the fact that this message unites everybody,’ says Charles Kaye, director of the World Orchestra for Peace to CNN.com. ‘We are playing because we’ve got something to say and music can bring that over.’