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New York Philharmonic Concert to Bid Farewell to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Welcome Secretary-General-Designate António Guterres

The world-renowned New York Philharmonic, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, paid special tribute to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon as he prepared to conclude his 10-year term at the helm of the world body at the end of December.  The concert was also an opportunity for a musical welcome to his successor, António Guterres, who took office on 1 January 2017.

The concert on 14 December brought New York City’s foremost cultural ambassadors to the iconic United Nations General Assembly Hall.

The programme included Beethoven’s Egmont overture; Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, with Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill as soloist; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.  These powerful pieces carried a message from United Nations Headquarters in New York City to the world, saluting the power of culture and the Secretary-General’s contributions to the work and mission of the United Nations.

During his tenure at the United Nation, Mr. Ban worked closely with world leaders, civil society and other partners to make possible the adoption of two landmark global agreements:  the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a blueprint to end poverty, fight inequalities and achieve a life of dignity for all on a healthy planet.  Mr. Ban also placed high priority on achieving gender equality, empowering young people, strengthening peace operations and ensuring respect for human rights.

"I am extremely grateful to Mr. Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for offering a concert in celebration of the work of the United Nations over the past decade.  We look forward to welcoming this globally renowned orchestra for this very special event which underscores the power of music to inspire and unite,” said Mr. Ban.

The concert was attended by United Nations delegates and United Nations staff, along with invited special guests.

“All of us at the New York Philharmonic believe that music has the potential to champion peace, understanding, and cooperation,” said Mr. Gilbert.  “I am honoured to be able to perform at the United Nations in continuation of a long tradition, and to honour Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his many accomplishments.  I also want to thank Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson for his support of this event and his similar belief that music can help make the world a better place.”

The United Nations Symphony Orchestra and United Nations Chamber Music Society are among the more than 80 music ensembles from all over New York City participating in The New World Initiative, the New York Philharmonic’s season-long, city-wide project revolving around Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9From the New World, and its theme of “home”.

The New York Philharmonic connects with up to 50 million music lovers annually through performances, education, broadcasts and the digital archives.  The 2016‑17 season marks the Orchestra’s 175th anniversary and Music Director Alan Gilbert’s farewell season.

Maestro Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic. UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Maestro Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic. UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Principal clarinet Anthony McGill. UN Photo/Manuel Elias
President of the General Assembly addresses the audience. UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the audience. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
New York Philharmonic Concert to Bid Farewell to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Welcome Secretary-General-Designate António Guterres. UN Photo/Manuel Elias