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About AYO

Richard Pontzious, founder 
Yehudi Menuhin, founding music director
Sergiu Comissiona, conductor laureate

Inaugural concerts conducted in August 1990 by Yehudi Menuhin

The award-winning Hong Kong-based Asian Youth Orchestra, recipient of Japan's Praemium Imperiale and Nikkei Asia Prize, is counted "amongst the finest youth orchestra round the world." (San Francisco Chronicle) 

Selected annually through a strict audition process, the 100-plus orchestra members represent China Mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Macao, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. They are together for six weeks, initially for a three-week Rehearsal Camp in Hong Kong, then for a three-week international concert tour with celebrated conductors and solo artists. 

Cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, Steven Isserlis, Wang Jian and Alisa Weilerstein, violinists Vadim Repin, Sarah Chang, Gidon Kremer, Gil Shaham, Elmar Oliveira, Young Uck Kim, Stefan Jackiw and Cho-Liang Lin, soprano Elly Ameling, the Beaux Arts Trio, pianists Alicia de Larrocha, Gerhard Oppitz, Cecile Licad and Leon Fleisher are among those who have performed with AYO under the direction of music director emeritus Sergiu Comissiona, Alexander Schneider, Tan Dun, Matthias Bamert, James Judd, Joseph Bastian and the orchestra’s co-founders, Yehudi Menuhin and Richard Pontzious.

Since its inaugural performances in 1990, the award-winning Orchestra, which made its Lucerne Festival debut in 2017, has played over 400 concerts in Asia, Europe, the US and Australia to an audience of more than one million concertgoers. Millions more have seen and heard the orchestra around the world on CNN, CNBC, NHK and Radio and Television Hong Kong.

A staggering 25,000 musicians, ranging in age from 17 to 27, have auditioned for AYO. Those selected for the full scholarship program study with an exceptional artist-faculty of principals from the Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, Minnesota and San Francisco symphony orchestras, the Bergamo Festival Orchestra (Italy), Milan's La Scala Opera, Rome Theater, La Fenice Teatro Venice, Teatro Carlo Felice Genoa, Brussels’ Monnaie Opera, Leipzig's Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Orchestra Della Radio Svizzera Italiana, the Vienna Volksoper, the Triple Helix Trio, Harvard, and the Boston and Peabody music conservatories.


Playing to critical acclaim -- "Performs with Precision," Washington Post, "Educates and Exhilarates," Daily Californian and standing ovations in the finest European Summer Festivals and concert halls around the world, the Asian Youth Orchestra has played more concerts in more cities in China than any other orchestra based outside the mainland. AYO was the first international orchestra in 50 years to perform in Vietnam,  premiered Tan Dun’s Symphony 1997 with cellist Yo-Yo Ma marking Hong Kong's reunification with China, has performed in the White House, at the United Nations, in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, in the 7000-seat Wolf Trap Center, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Italy's Ravello and Merano festivals, the Sydney Opera House, Prague's treasured Smetana Hall, Brussels' Palais des Beaux-Arts and virtually every major concert hall across Japan and Southeast Asia.

A tuition-free cultural exchange summer program that involves Asia’s brightest young musicians in exceptional opportunities for study and performance in an international environment, the Asian Youth Orchestra is designed to ignite a pride for what can be achieved by Asian musicians in Asia, while affecting a positive influence on the brain and talent drain that continues to frustrate all Asian nations.

Incorporated in Hong Kong, the Asian Youth Orchestra is a tax-exempt non-profit organization qualified under Section 88 of the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Ordinance. Contributions from the United States are tax-exempt through Give2Asia.




Honorary Patron:


The Honourable John KC LEE, GBM, SBS, PDSM, PMSM
The Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People’s Republic of China 



Mr. James Thompson 
Chairman, Crown Worldwide Group


Past Chairmen:

Dr. David K.P. Li
Executive Chairman, Bank of East Asia

Mr. Tony Tyler
Former Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific Airways

Mr. Keith Griffiths
Chairman, Aedas Ltd


Dr. Darwin Chen
Senior Advisor

School of Professional and Continuing Education
University of Hong Kong

Ms. Ella Cheong, JP

Senior Partner, ELLALAN

Ella Cheong & Alan Chiu, Solicitors & Notaries

Mr. Chew Fook Aun


Dr. Roy Chung, GBS, BBS, JP
Founder & Chairman
Bright Future Charitable Foundation

Ms. Christine Guo, CFA

Mr. Ronald Lam

Chief Executive Officer
Cathay Pacific Airways

Mr. Samuel Lin
Tyee Capital Group

Dr. David K.P. Li
Executive Chairman 

Bank of East Asia

Mr. Yat Siu
CEO and founder

Outblaze Limited

Mr. Frank J Sixt
Group Finance Director and
Deputy Managing Director
CK Hutchison Holdings Limited

Ms. Ada Tse

YangTse Foundation

Mr. Ivan Wong
Chief Executive

Ocean Park Corporation



Dr. Darwin Chen
Senior Advisor

School of Professional and Continuing Education

University of Hong Kong

Mr. Yat Siu
CEO and founder

Outblaze Limited



Administration, staff & associates


Richard Pontzious, SBS


Keith Lau
Chief Executive Officer


Kevin Peterson
Travel Consultant


Corina Ho

Cody Chan

Coordinator & Stage Manager


Kano Kunio

Fang Jie
Concert Representative, 

Taipei Philharmonic Foundation for Culture and Education
Concert Representative, 

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