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Vienna Philarmonic Raises Tsunami Funds
Moved by last weekend's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe, Austria's Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra said it would donate $136,000 to the World Health Organization to help provide drinking water to survivoMoved by last weekend's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe, Austria's Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra said it would donate $136,000 to the World Health Organization to help provide drinking water to survivors. "We wish to express our solidarity with all those who have lost everything," said the famed orchestra's president, Clemens Hellsberg.
The death toll has risen well above 100,000, and the U.N. World Health Organization said up to 5 million people around the tsunami-struck Indian Ocean region did not have access to the basics they need to stay alive -- clean water, shelter, food, sanitation and health care.
"International solidarity is their only hope, and in this way, we would like to convey some of the hope communicated by the music of the Strauss dynasty to the survivors of this disaster," Hellsberg said, in a reference to the Viennese musical family that included the composers of the "Blue Danube Waltz" and "Die Fledermaus."
The orchestra typically donates about $68,000 to a humanitarian cause each New Year's Day, when it plays a concert that is broadcast around the world. Besides the contribution to WHO, the Philharmonic said it was also making two $68,000 donations to groups that help homeless alcoholics and children suffering from trauma.
Lorin Maazel, music director of the New York Philharmonic and a former chief conductor of the Vienna State Opera, will conduct tomorrow's (Jan. 1) concert, to be broadcast in the United States by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
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