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          Philadelphia Orchestra seeks to build ties with China tours

          Xinhua | Updated: 2019-10-17 08:37
          Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra stage a concert at the Youth Science, Technology and Culture Exchange Center of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Beijing on May 21.[Photo provided to China Daily]

          The Philadelphia Orchestra will further people-to-people connections with China through tours to contribute to US-China cultural exchanges and bilateral ties, according to the orchestra's chief.

          "For us, the relationship with China and the people of China is important," says Matias Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

          "We will be there with a group of musicians in Shanghai and in Beijing next month, and then in 2021, we'll be doing a big tour to China," he says. The orchestra's ties with China are rooted in the 1970s.

          Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has a long history of touring the world.

          The orchestra's ties with China mark a significant chapter in its history.

          In 1973, the orchestra pioneered cultural exchanges with China at the invitation of then-US president Richard Nixon, becoming the first US orchestra to tour the People's Republic of China. Since then, it has visited frequently, representing a bridge for cultural, educational and people-to-people exchanges.

          "The people-to-people connection gets stronger every time the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra set foot in China," says Tarnopolsky, adding that "no matter what the climate externally is, these collaborations continue".

          This May, the orchestra wrapped up its 12th tour in China, which also marked the four-decade milestone in US-China diplomatic relations.

          It held concerts in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, along with coaching sessions in Chinese colleges from May 16 to 28.

          Calling the May tour "an awe-inspiring experience", Tarnopolsky says the "unbelievable warmth" his team received from the Chinese audience showed "how strong the relationship between the orchestra and China continues to be".

          "People-to-people exchanges and cultural interactions are crucial to secure the future friendship between nations," he adds.

          Reflecting on the orchestra's nearly half-century bond with China, the chief executive, who is also a classically trained musician, says China, with its musical traditions that date back thousands of years, "has informed our music-education practices and our touring practices", noting such interactions also help facilitate musical development.

          The Philadelphia Orchestra is widely recognized as a global ambassador for Philadelphia and the United States due to its tradition of collaborations with domestic and international communities.

          On Saturday, it staged a special one-night concert for the 70th anniversary of New China's founding.

          Earlier this month, the orchestra and the city of Philadelphia worked with the Chinese consulate general in New York to host China Day celebrations.

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