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The Philadelphia Orchestra Launches its 2012 Residency and Tour of China

June 1, 2012

China Merchants Bank is the Orchestra’s Title Sponsor of the Residency and Tour 

(Beijing, June 1, 2012)—The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2012 Residency and Tour of China has launched in spectacular style, with activities and events already underway.  

The residency officially kicked off with “pop-up” performances by Orchestra ensembles at three historic locations around Beijing—the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and in Beihai Park—followed by the formal Opening Ceremony at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA; the “Egg”) in Beijing. 

Upcoming highlights of the Orchestra’s 2012 Residency and Tour of China include a community performance at the Dongcheng Special Education School (June 1), a special concert at the Great Wall at Badaling (June 2), an education concert by an Orchestra ensemble in Tianjin (June 2), a “Music Meets Arts” chamber  ensemble performance at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in celebration of the opening of a new exhibit by noted Chinese artist Ji Yun-Fei (June 2), a joint chamber performance between musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the NCPA Orchestra (June 2), and community engagement and sponsor activities in Macao and Guangzhou (June 4 and 5).

Overall the 2012 Residency and Tour of China includes five full Orchestra concerts, one chamber orchestra concert, two free open rehearsals, nine community engagement activities, three master classes, and several U.S.-China diplomatic forums. In addition to two full Orchestra performances and one chamber performance in Beijing, the full Orchestra will perform concerts in nearby Tianjin—Philadelphia’s “sister city” in China—Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Musicians from the Orchestra will also perform one chamber concert in Macao and extend community engagement activities to the above cities. 

Some highlights of the residency earlier this week were presentations by Ambassador Nicholas Platt, including “China Then and Now” at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Shanghai and “Forty Years of People-to-People Relations between China and the U.S.” at the American Center in Beijing. A noted expert on U.S.-China relations, Ambassador Platt facilitated the Orchestra’s historic 1973 tour of China and has been instrumental in fostering the partnership between the Orchestra and the NCPA.

Coca-Cola, the Supporting Sponsor of the 2012 Residency and Tour of China, also facilitated a visit by Orchestra musicians to one of its Coca-Cola Project Hope schools, the Hongshuizhuang Central Elementary School in Tianjin. A quartet, organized in collaboration with Intercultural Journeys and its artistic director, Orchestra cellist Ohad Bar-David, performed for and engaged with 300 elementary school children at this rural school, performing Chinese-influenced music—one quartet member was noted erhu-player Jiebing Chen—and listening to student performers. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2012 Residency and Tour of China goes beyond the traditional concert experience, sharing classical music inside and outside the concert hall and with the general public. It is an extension of the Orchestra’s much-treasured historic friendship with China and its people. This relationship dates back to 1940, when members of the Orchestra performed a benefit concert in Philadelphia for the China Aid Council. This year the innovative cultural partnership with NCPA is opening a new door to the Orchestra’s long-term commitment to the people of China. The Orchestra and the NCPA are working collaboratively on a multi-year plan to continue similar activities that will bring the Orchestra to audiences and communities throughout China over the next several years. 

Follow The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2012 Residency and Tour of China on its tour webpage (http://www.philorch.org/china), on Facebook, and on Twitter.

About The Philadelphia Orchestra and China

In 1973 The Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Eugene Ormandy, became the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China at the special request of President Richard Nixon, after the two nations re-established diplomatic ties in 1972. The Orchestra returned to China in 1993, 1996, and 2001 with Wolfgang Sawallisch; in 2008 with Christoph Eschenbach for performances that included the 35th Anniversary Concert commemorating the Orchestra’s first trip to China; and again in 2010 with Charles Dutoit to perform at the World Expo in Shanghai, among other concerts. Of the musicians who traveled to China on the 1973 historic visit, six remain in the Orchestra today: Violinists Herbert Light and Booker Rowe; violist Renard Edwards; double bassist Michael Shahan (associate principal bass); harpist Margarita Csonka Montanaro (co-principal harp); and percussionist Anthony Orlando (associate principal percussion). Retired violinist Herold Klein, also on the 1973 visit, will also join the Residency and Tour. The Philadelphia Orchestra has a long and distinguished touring history throughout the world and is one of the most-traveled American symphonic ensembles.

The Orchestra is honored that China Merchant’s Bank has signed on as the Orchestra’s 2012 Title Sponsor. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2012 Residency and Tour of China is additionally made possible through the generous sponsorship of multiple partners. The Venetian Macao is Premier Sponsor and Macao Community Outreach Sponsor. Richard Hennessy, the Ultimate Cognac, is Presenting Sponsor for the May 31 and June 5 performances. Coca-Cola is Supporting Sponsor. Drexel University is Education Partner. Additional support has been provided to the 2012 Residency and Tour of China by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, NASDAQ, and PPG Industries. 

The Philadelphia Orchestra recognizes and honors the sponsors of the NCPA’s strategic cultural partnerships and expresses its gratitude for their role as well in making the Orchestra’s 2012 appearance possible.

About The Philadelphia Orchestra

Renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of “firsts” in music-making, The Philadelphia Orchestra remains one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary roster of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Karl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach, as well as the Orchestra’s current chief conductor, Charles Dutoit. In the 2012-13 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will become the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Named music director designate in 2010, Nézet-Séguin brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music and into the vivid world of opera and choral music.

Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra nurtures an important relationship with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The Orchestra also performs for Philadelphia audiences at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Penn’s Landing, and other regional venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association continues to own the Academy of Music—a National Historic Landmark—as it has since 1957.

The ensemble maintains an important tradition of presenting community educational programs for local audiences. Today the Orchestra executes a myriad of education and civic partnership programs, notably its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, eZseatU, and more.

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, The Philadelphia Orchestra touches the lives of countless music lovers around the world. The Orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center while also enjoying a three-week residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit www.philorch.org.

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