World-renowned concert pianist, Roger Woodward, is performing a popular programme of works by Bach, Beethoven and Chopin at Wellington School on August 1 at 7.30pm to raise money for a campaign to protect Asian black bears.
Mr Woodward, described by The Guardian as “a pianistic genius”, is backing a campaign by the Animals Asia Foundation to end the practice of farming bears for their bile.
Currently it is estimated that around 10,000 bears are kept on bile farms in China and a further 2,400 in Vietnam. Animals Asia is currently working on a project to turn a bear bile farm in Nanning, southern China, into a bear sanctuary and the concert will raise funds for this specific project.
Animals Asia says that some of the cages that the bears, also known as moon bears, are kept in are tiny, sometimes so small that the animals are unable to turn around. Bile is extracted using “various painful, invasive techniques, all of which cause massive infection in the bears. This cruel practice continues despite the availability of a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives”.
Over the past decade the foundation has worked with the Chinese and Vietnamese governments to close down the bile farms and send rescued bears to bear sanctuaries. So far 285 bears have been rescued in China and 114 in Vietnam.
Mr Woodward, a regular visitor to Wellington, said he is horrified by the trade: “I hope the concert will raise a good sum to help to treat and rehabiliitate the bears at Nanning Bear Sanctuary and go toward further facilities in which they can spend the rest of their lives happily and pain free.”
Mr Woodward, a Chopin specialist, will perform the Romantic Polish composer’s Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, Mazurkas Opus 7 and the Bacarolle in F# major, three Preludes and Fugues from J. S. Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier and Beethoven’s last Piano Sonata No. 32, Opus 111.
Tickets, which cost £20, include the price of refreshments. To book call 01823 681168 or 01823 662604. For more information about Animals Asia’s Nanning Sanctuary visit peacebypiece.animalsasia.org