YEREVAN — The fourth Aurora Prize Ceremony will take place in Yerevan on October 20, and will be divided into a two-part ceremony, featuring the Aurora Prize itself and a concert by the remarkable Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev. This unique global humanitarian Prize is awarded annually by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. The ceremony will showcase Aurora Humanitarians – individuals who have done extraordinary work and had exceptional impact on human life by saving the desperate and abandoned and advancing the cause of humanitarianism in the face of adversity. One of these three Aurora Humanitarians will receive a $1 million grant to continue the cycle of giving by supporting the organizations they have chosen.
The novel structure of this year’s event has two parts: the 2019 Aurora Prize Ceremony itself and the charity concert of Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra’s conducted by Valery Gergiev.
Gergiev is a prominent Russian conductor and a representative of the St. Petersburg conducting school, as well as the founder and director of several prestigious international festivals. In the early 1980s, Gergiev worked in Armenia where he was the chief conductor of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1988, he was appointed music director of the Mariinsky Theatre, and in 1996 he became its artistic and general director. Since 2015, he has also headed the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
“I am deeply grateful to Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra for their participation in this year’s Aurora Prize Ceremony, and delighted that on October 20, in Yerevan, we will honor not only the best of human courage and commitment, but also the splendor of musical genius,” said Aurora Forum Co-Founder Ruben Vardanyan.
The Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in Russia. It dates back to the St. Petersburg Imperial Opera Orchestra that was created at the turn of the 19th century. Under Gergiev’s direction, the orchestra has reached new heights, and its repertoire expanded significantly to include symphonic works, in addition to operas and ballet. In 2008, the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra was ranked 14th among top orchestras in the world, according to Gramophone magazine (UK).
On May 6, 2016, the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, held a unique concert in Syria, titled “Pray for Palmyra. Music Revives Ancient Ruins.” The event took place on the stage of historic amphitheater in Palmyra, one of the world’s most ancient centers of civilization, liberated from ISIS only a few days before the concert.