Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plays the piano during a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (July 27, 2010). (Photo : Reuters)
40 years after becoming the first American orchestra to play in China, the Philadelphia Orchestra has announced a new summer tour and outreach program that will visit Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing and Macao between May 29 and June 10.
The orchestra made a similar visit in May of last year, and Philadelphia's management says that so long as there's money in the bank, they would like to make playing in China a recurring affair.
"[Philadelphia] looks toward a rich future in China," officials said.
Curiously, Yannick Nézet-Séguin--Philadelphia's new music director--will not be leading the tour thanks to prior commitments with his other orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic.
Scottish conductor (and OBE) Donald Runnicles will fill in for seven performances.
Speaking of that lucky number, at least seven members who made the maiden musical voyage still play in the orchestra; each one will be honored in a special ceremony upon touching down at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
Under longtime conductor Eugene Ormandy, the Philadelphia Orchestra visited China in 1973 as part of an historic thaw between West and East.
Struggling with decreasing attendance, donations and endowment (not to mention that whole recession thing), back in 2011, the 112-year-old ensemble became the first major U.S. orchestra to file for Chapter 11 reorganization.
So, better than another flight to China, it's greater to see the Philadelphia Orchestra finally lifted back to where they belong.
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