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Honorary Fellow


1993 Honorary Fellow


Henry Weinrebe might easily have been presented today as a performing musician.  A violinist from the age of 5, he changed to the viola at 12, and his passion for music could have led him into a professional career in chamber music, but circumstances took him towards chemical engineering at university.  After 6 years in the armed forces, he came to Asia first as a business trainee, working in China and Japan.  In 1956 he settled in Hong Kong, which in those days justified its description as a cultural desert.  But through his love of music and his desire to share it with others, he vowed that “the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose”.  So he brought to Hong Kong the London Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and many other performing groups.  But bringing overseas musicians to Hong Kong wasn’t enough.  He was concerned that talented young Hong Kong musicians could not receive training in Hong Kong, but had to go overseas.  In 1974 he founded an organizing committee to establish a Conservatory of Music in Hong Kong, and 5 years later, it opened its doors for the first time.  Its graduates can now be found in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, in the Sinfonietta, and teaching at the Academy.  Eventually the Conservatory was subsumed into this Academy.  But without Harry Weinrebe’s vision, and his financial support, it would never have happened.  He has continued, through a number of scholarships, to support young musicians at the Academy, at the Guildhall School in London and at the Geneva Conservatoire.  All our orchestral players at the Academy are constantly indebted to him for his generous donation to the Academy of the magnificent Ernest Read Orchestral Library, one of the best resources of its kind in the world.  He served the Academy for many years as a member of the Council, from which he retired last year.  I present for Fellowship of the Academy for performing Arts, Mr Harry Weinrebe.