In order to help provide aid for the recent disaster in Haiti, the Berliner Philharmoniker (conducted by Sir Simon Rattle with the pianist Mitsuko Uchida) is offering the globe a world-class benefit concert on the internet via their Digital Concert Hall (visit http://dch.berliner-philharmoniker.de). 

 

It is perhaps little known to some that the Berliner Philharmoniker was made a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in November 2007 and, in a recent interview, Rattle said that “it was simply the orchestra’s immediate feeling as Goodwill Ambassadors that we must do something. What we can do quickly is give a concert for Haiti, particularly because the idea of a charity concert keeps things in people’s minds [and] keeps them giving… I really do believe that, at a certain point, the arts can join people together in a way that nothing else can.” 

 

Performing Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in a programme that includes Ligeti’s San Francisco Polyphony and Sibelius’s Second Symphony, Uchida said of her initial response to being approached that sharing music is the only thing they can do as musicians, and “by doing so, [inviting] other people to be able to give is something fantastic.” 

 

The concert will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. GMT on Saturday 20th February and it can be watched on their website by purchasing a ticket for €9.90. After the concert has finished, it will also be available for the same price through the website’s archives and can be watched at any time in the future. All the proceeds will go directly to the charity and, as a regular virtual audience member of the Digital Concert Hall, I can attest the stunning clarity of both video and sound. It is a wonderful way to both introduce yourself to music played by an orchestra of the highest calibre and to donate a small amount of money to a charitable cause.