Sydney Symphony Orchestra Honoured as Leading Cultural Ambassador

SSO Chief Conductor David Robertson  Asia Society Chair Doug Ferguson_credit Adam Hollingworth

SYDNEY, 31 AUGUST 2017 – The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has been honoured for five decades of building and strengthening cultural ties between Australia and Asia.

The orchestra was presented with the inaugural Asia Society Australia-Chopard Passion for Excellence award, honouring excellence in the field of cultural diplomacy at the Asia Society Australia 20th Anniversary Gala in Sydney.

The award was received by David Robertson, the SSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, on the eve of the orchestra’s fifth tour of China in September. The SSO’s first overseas tour in 1965 included concerts in Manila, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Doug Ferguson, Asia Society Australia chairman, said:

“Cultural diplomacy strengthens, broadens and deepens relations between the nations of the world. For five decades, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has led the way in enhancing understanding of Australia and promoting the nation’s cultural achievements throughout the region. Asia Society Australia commends the SSO’s ongoing commitment as a leading cultural ambassador for Australia.”

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson said:

“We at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra are incredibly honoured to accept this award. As we prepare for our fifth tour to China next month, we are grateful to the Asia Society for helping organisations like the SSO share our music with our nearest neighbours. We thank you for your continued support in helping us to build meaningful relationships in the Asia-Pacific and congratulate you on celebrating 20 years in Australia.”

At the 20th Anniversary Gala, the society also honoured three individuals who were instrumental in the establishment and growth of Asia Society Australia: founding Chairman Hugh Morgan AC, founding Director Richard Woolcott AC, and Immediate Past Chairman, The Hon Warwick Smith AM.

Philipp Ivanov, Chief Executive Officer of Asia Society Australia, said:

“We are indebted to Hugh, Dick and Warwick for the enormous role they have played in furthering Australia-Asia relations and their tireless efforts in helping to make Asia Society Australia the leading national centre for engagement with the region that it is today.” 

About Asia Society Australia
The leading national centre for engagement with Asia, Asia Society Australia is the Australian centre of Asia Society, the pre-eminent global organisation and leading force in forging closer ties between Asia and the West through arts, education, policy and business. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a non-partisan, non-profit institution with centres in New York, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Washington, DC and Zurich. For more information visit

About Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1932 by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has evolved into one of the world’s finest orchestras as Sydney has become one of the world’s great cities. Resident at the iconic Sydney Opera House, the SSO also performs in venues throughout Sydney and regional New South Wales, and international tours to Japan, China and Korea have earned the orchestra worldwide recognition for artistic excellence and cultural diplomacy. In 2017 the Orchestra will undertake its fifth tour to China, led by Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson.


Andrew Sholl for Asia Society Australia
Mob: 0448 805 806

Bridget Cormack, SSO Head of Communications
Tel: 02 8215 4648 І Mob: 0404 816 764 І