INTERNATIONALLY renowned conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier will conduct the 50th annual fundraising concert for The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's Benevolent Fund on Sunday, May 25.

The afternoon performance at Lighthouse in Poole will feature a programme that includes Berlioz's swashbuckling overture Le Corsaire, Bizet's passionate L'Arlésienne Suite and that most famous of orchestral showpieces, Ravel's Boléro.

Making a rare appearance with the BSO will be the celebrated French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie, who will join forces with the orchestra for Tchaikovsky's romantic first piano concerto.

Organiser, violinist Janice Thorgilson, said that securing the services of the world-acclaimed Tortelier was a major coup.

"The BSO enjoys a wonderful rapport with this distinguished and charismatic conductor, and audiences and musicians alike are always assured of a special musical experience when he conducts," she says.

The Benevolent Fund was established in 1958 by the late Bournemouth Orchestras chief executive Ken Matchett. Its aim of providing financial support to musicians during periods of prolonged injury or illness continues to be as relevant today as it was then.

It also keeps in touch with retired members, helping to maintain a link with the history and traditions of the orchestra.

Supporting this year's special event will be many former players including Raymond Carpenter, who was principal clarinettist for 40 years and participated in the very first Benevolent Fund concert.

Organisers stress that the concert provides the fund's main source of income and say that they are greatly indebted to the many conductors and soloists, including every principal conductor from Rudolf Schwarz to Marin Alsop, who over the years have not only donated their services, but also frequently travelled from far and wide to do so.