Wien, 10. January 2003 Press release

Cultural diplomacy in Budapest and Prague - concert series "Musical Experience Central Europe"

10.01.2003

Vienna, 10 January 2003 - Since 2002, in line with its focus on promoting high-quality artistic initiatives in the Danube region and the eastern part of Central Europe, the international cultural policy directorate of the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs via the "Central European Cultural Platform" has intensified its cooperation with the International Summer Academy Prague-Vienna-Budapest.

In this context the Central European Cultural Platform, a joint initiative launched by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Austria to encourage closer cooperation in the area of international cultural policy, acts as a sponsoring organisation for the joint planning and support of projects in all fields of science and the arts. While maintaining the cultural diversity of the individual countries, the organisation aims to further strengthen the great creative potential of the Central European region by identifying and exploiting historical and contemporary cross-border connections.

With its "International Summer Academy Prague-Vienna-Budapest", the University of Music and the Performing Arts has been working with other higher schools of music in the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe since 1991 to support the region's top young musicians, thus making a valuable contribution towards creating a new awareness of the shared cultural heritage.

In cooperation with the Austrian Economic Chamber and local higher schools of music, both partners, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs/Central European Cultural Platform and the International Summer Academy Prague-Vienna-Budapest, want to help create a new Central European cultural identity defined in terms of the region's shared cultural heritage. This is the aim of the new concert series entitled "Musical Experience Central Europe", which will be inaugurated with a gala concert at the Franz Liszt University of Music in Budapest on 19 January 2003, followed on 19 February by a second gala concert in Prague.

Both the prestigious nature of the event and the cooperation between the worlds of politics, business and the arts are highlighted by the personages represented on the Honorary Committee, who include the Minister for the National Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Hungary, Gábor Görgey, the Minister of Education of the Republic of Hungary, Dr. Bálint Magyar, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the Lord Mayor of the City of Budapest, Dr. Gábor Demszky, the Province Governor of Lower Austria, Dr. Erwin Pröll, and the Secretary-General of the Austrian Economic Chamber, Mag. Christian Domany.