The Philadelphia Orchestra Returns To China 50 Years After Its First Trip

( — For the first time since May 2019, the Philadelphia Orchestra will be going to Beijing as part of a friendly cultural exchange between the US and China. They will be performing with the China National Symphony Orchestra as well as traveling to the cities of Shanghai, Suzhou, and Tianjin.

The Philadelphia Orchestra will be holding master classes and performing chamber music at schools and various cultural venues. This will be their 13th tour in China and will mark 50 years since the orchestra’s first visit in September 1973. President and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Matías Tarnopolsky, believes that music has the power to “connect and build bridges” and added that even today, the inaugural visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra is remembered by many people in China as a “symbol of deep musical friendship”.

The US orchestra sent 14 members of the orchestra to Beijing ahead of the official tour. Among them was 73-year-old Davyd Booth, a violinist who was on the orchestra’s first tour in 1973. Upon his arrival at Beijing’s Capital International Airport, Booth commented that the 50 years of constant connection between the two countries have been “deep and very wonderful”. The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the most well-traveled symphonic ensembles in America, regularly performing in the world’s finest concert halls. The orchestra is also doing a European tour in conjunction with the international celebration of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday.

The tour is coming at a time when many special efforts to repair relations between the US and China are being made. The American Ballet Theatre will be touring China during the same timeframe that the orchestra is. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo have all made recent visits to China, and Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping have an upcoming meeting in San Francisco. There seems to be an understanding that peaceful diplomatic and cultural exchanges between these two powerful nations are in everyone’s best interests.

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