A Monthly Profile of Orchestra Fans and Family
As President and CEO of Sands China Ltd., Edward Tracy runs one of the largest integrated resorts in the world—the Venetian Macao—and sees a lot of big-name entertainment, from movie premieres to sporting events to rock concerts. And out there, amidst all that glitter and glitz of the “Las Vegas of the East,” what is he especially looking forward to? “Seeing The Philadelphia Orchestra again,” says Tracy, who was recently named one of the “Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by the Harvard Business Review.
(Left to right) Ambassador Nicholas Platt, who helped facilitate the Orchestra’s historic 1973 Tour of China; Sands China Ltd. President and CEO Edward Tracy; his wife, Janet; Yannick Nézet-Séguin; and Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore in Macao during the Orchestra’s 2014 China Residency. Photo by Jan Regan
Sands China has been a major sponsor of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s multi-year people-to-people cultural exchange and China Residency since the program began in 2012. The company’s millions in support underwrite performances, community outreach activities, and side-by-side concerts with Chinese musicians, including the Macao Orchestra last May. “It’s always been important for Sands China to bring a diversity of entertainment to Macao,” says Tracy. “So in addition to having events featuring pop-culture superstars and celebrities from the worlds of sport, film, and music, we also look at ways to bring in entertainment that has an impact on the creative and cultural landscape of Macao.”
Tracy adds, “With The Philadelphia Orchestra, working together was a natural fit because of the Orchestra’s own significant history with China, and because it’s one of the world’s finest orchestras. We wanted to offer people in Macao—locals and visitors—a chance to experience the benefits of seeing an orchestra of this caliber live. And we also are very pleased that we’re able to make use of the Orchestra’s visits for additional community events and cultural exchanges.”
The musicians of the Orchestra themselves have superstar status in China—as Tracy learned when the Venetian Macao presented the Rolling Stones to a sell-out crowd of more than 10,000. “When we surveyed our team, more knew the story about Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger sending The Philadelphia Orchestra to China as cultural ambassadors than knew about the Stones,” he says.
With that kind of popularity, it’s a winning combination for everyone. “The Philadelphia Orchestra is a group of incredibly talented musicians, and beyond that, the administration and organization behind the scenes is equally professional. Sands China’s partnership with the Orchestra has been very fruitful, and I hope our collaboration can continue to bring benefits to Macao’s cultural, creative, and entertainment landscape.”
The Philadelphia Orchestra, of course, has its own storied history in China. In 1973 it became the first American orchestra to visit the People’s Republic of China, a year after President Nixon made his historic visit. (Diplomatic relations weren’t formally established until 1979.)
“Through its music and its history with China, the Orchestra has long been a kind of ambassador between East and West,” says Tracy. “That has some similarities with Macao, as our city has a very unique East meets West cultural heritage because of its own history. So with Macao having this position as a cultural crossroads, it’s important for Sands China to contribute to that cultural offering, and to help diversify the kinds of experiences people can have while visiting the city. And this is also in line with the Macao government’s push to diversify the tourism product as the city further develops as a world center of tourism and leisure.
“The blending of the history of the Orchestra in China with current events makes for an interesting contextual backdrop. The consistent and most rewarding component is that the cultural ambassadorship is as relevant today as it was 43 years ago.”