Preview: The World Orchestra For Peace, Royal Albert Hall, London

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The Independent Culture

The orchestra plays at the BBC Proms this Saturday under Solti's anointed successor Valery Gergiev, and goes on to Berlin, Moscow and Beijing to proclaim its message of peace.

An idle dream? Maybe not. As Lady Solti, the conductor's widow, explains: "As a child in Central Europe he remembered travelling through the night to avoid unspoken dangers. He saw totalitarian regimes of both hues, and the restrictions upon the Jews in 1930s Hungary. Then came the war; he recalled arriving in rubble-filled Munich by jeep, to find everything wholly devastated, and scant prospect of work. It made a very strong mark on him - and he was one of the fortunate ones."

The orchestra embraces more than 100 players from almost 80 orchestras and 40 nations, from Latvia to Brazil, Cuba to Korea to Kazakhstan. "Since it was founded things have grown more desperate, with September 11, the Iraq war, terrorism, tension over settlements," says Lady Solti. "People are frustrated with conventional approaches. What we can't do is do nothing; if we wait for others to make decisions for us, we'll be waiting forever.

"This is a small but important gesture, made by musicians from all over world, from different religions and backgrounds, giving their time free, and voluntarily. The orchestra is living evidence of how music can bridge the divide. The more you have dialogue, co-operation, understanding, the more there's hope. You've got to live together; and we're not doing very well at that at present."

BBC Proms, 27 August, 7.30pm (020-7589 8212;