Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin Leads The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2017 Tour of Asia
Three-week tour features concerts and cultural exchange activities in
Shanghai, Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Seoul, and Hong Kong
2017 celebrates the first year of new five-year partnerships with China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, and the Shanghai Media Group Performing Arts Division
Tour residency program contributes to U.S. legacy of cultural diplomacy abroad
(Philadelphia, May 19, 2017)—Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in its 2017 Tour of Asia and China Residency, May 23 through June 11, marking his third Asian tour with the ensemble. The tour begins in Shanghai and continues to Beijing—the two Chinese cities that are home to the Orchestra’s long-standing partners in two-way cultural exchange, the Shanghai Oriental Art Center (SHOAC), the Shanghai Media Group Performing Arts Division (SMG), and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing. While in Shanghai, The Philadelphia Orchestra returns for the second consecutive year to the International Tourism and Resorts Zone, located on the grounds of the new Shanghai Disney Resort.
The Orchestra then sends a delegation to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for a residency in celebration of 30 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mongolia. This is the first time a Western orchestra has engaged in people-to-people exchange and outreach activities in Mongolia, and is made possible by the direct investment and innovative leadership of the United States Department of State and the United States Embassy in Ulaanbaatar. The tour’s last two stops, Seoul and Hong Kong, mark the Orchestra’s return to two cities that have historically greeted it with enthusiasm and appreciation.
Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra bring repertoire to Asia that reflects the rich musical heritage of the ensemble as well as the strong partnership between music director and musicians. The tour repertoire includes works by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Mendelssohn. In Shanghai on Saturday, May 27, 2017, the Orchestra will perform the world premiere of Dreamland Overture by Da Jie, commissioned by the Shanghai Media Group. Also featured will be a celebratory performance on May 31, 2017, of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in honor of the 10th anniversary of the National Centre for the Performing Arts landmark building in Beijing, featuring the National Centre for the Performing Arts Chorus and soloists selected jointly by The Philadelphia Orchestra and the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
This year’s tour will present a number of opportunities for audiences around the world to experience the full concerts through live streaming and webcasting: Wednesday, May 31, in Beijing recorded by CCTV for future distribution within mainland China; and Thursday, June 8, on KBS Radio and TV from the Seoul Arts Center.
“The relationships we make in cultural diplomacy around the world continue to enrich and inspire us,” said Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “Our presenting partners and residency partners help bring The Philadelphia Orchestra deep into the community in exceptional performances and collective music-making. We are also deeply grateful to our sponsors, who extend the reach of The Philadelphia Orchestra into Asia, allowing us to continue an ever-increasing footprint of service on behalf of our country. Our reward is the people-to-people exchange that comes from being both with audiences and with community members in every tour city.”
“It is always a thrill to return to Asia and make music with friends and audiences on the other side of the world,” said Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “It’s very much a homecoming, as we share the unique power of music to unite people across language and culture. I particularly enjoy meeting people through residency activities, and I am especially looking forward to working with the young musicians at the Central Conservatory of Music. Combined with our concerts, these events provide special opportunities to make new friends during this musical journey.”
Legacy in China
With the 2017 Tour of Asia, The Philadelphia Orchestra builds upon the tremendous success of its previous five-year commitment to touring, residency, and community engagement throughout the People’s Republic—by opening the first year of new five-year relationships with three of our most outstanding partners in concert performance and cultural exchange, located in Shanghai and Beijing: the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, the Shanghai Media Group, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
The Orchestra proudly embraces its role as cultural ambassadors to China, having completed 11 tours of the country and participated in many special occasions. This influential Residency program has created a two-way exchange that showcases artistic excellence onstage in concerts, and demonstrates an enduring commitment to offstage work in education and engagement through master classes, collaborative programs with Chinese musicians and students, events with diplomats and business leaders, pop-up performances, and other activities.
The Orchestra’s commitment to the Chinese communities in which it performs, spearheaded by its musicians and representatives, has fostered international goodwill and positive international relations. The Philadelphia Orchestra remains a committed, long-term partner with the people of China, growing a relationship that has been built on trust and social responsibility.
Widely regarded as one of the top orchestras in the world, The Philadelphia Orchestra is renowned for its distinguished touring history as one of America’s most traveled symphonies. The Orchestra is also proud of its growing relationships in China that began in 1973. Since that year, when President Richard M. Nixon asked the Orchestra to be the first U.S. orchestra to perform in China, the ensemble has enjoyed a unique and special relationship with China and its people. Twenty years after its first arrival in China, the Orchestra returned in 1993, and again in 1996, 2001, 2008, and 2010, when it helped to open the World Expo in Shanghai, prior to its residencies every year between 2012 and 2016.
The overall rationale for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2017 tour, building off successful visits since 1973 and a renewed commitment of annual touring and residencies in China since 2012, is to continue to expand our reach to Chinese people, while also sharing that story with our audiences throughout the rest of the world.
Cultural Diplomacy Rooted in Residency
As one of the most traveled American orchestras, The Philadelphia Orchestra is a global ambassador for the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States of America. Residency activities are a critical component of every Philadelphia Orchestra global tour—they are inclusive of all people-to-people engagement activities that take place offstage and outside the scope of full concert performances. These activities help us reach new audiences through interactive, educational, and entertainment content.
Over the course of the Orchestra’s touring history, it recognized that traditional artistic performances connect with a relatively small segment of the potential audience at home and abroad. With a robust international touring schedule that attracts new and faithful audience members each year, we actively explore ways to reach new audiences, touching more citizens at home and abroad.
Over the past decade, The Philadelphia Orchestra has established industry-leading expertise in the coordination and execution of residency activities in locations around the world. The Philadelphia Orchestra uses music to transcend cultural and language barriers, while developing new audiences. Because of those qualities, global residency activities are a vital component of the Orchestra’s mission statement as it provides a way for local citizens to connect with our music and music-making.
Making History in Mongolia
Just over one year ago, on March 3, 2016, in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Government of Mongolia formalized a groundbreaking new relationship. During this ceremonial and celebratory event, which featured performances by musicians from both sides of the partnership, the Orchestra signed an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Mongolia. This is the first time that music was performed in SFRC S-116, one of the most revered diplomatic spaces in the Capitol Building. The Truman Doctrine (1947), the Marshall Plan (1948), and many other historic agreements and treaties were signed in SFRC S-116. It is also the location where the Senate Foreign Relations Committee receives national security briefings and conducts a wide range of private business.
The MOU documents a cooperative commitment whereby the Orchestra will be in residence to engage in people-to-people cultural diplomacy. Members of Pennsylvania’s Senate and Congressional delegation, led by U.S. Senator Robert Casey, Jr., and U.S. Representative Joe Pitts, were in attendance, in addition to State Department officials, business leaders in the Asia and Pacific region, and thought leaders in the area of cultural diplomacy.
On Friday, September 23, 2016, His Excellency Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, president of Mongolia, visited Philadelphia for a day-long visit at the invitation of Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Fast forward to present day, and The Philadelphia Orchestra is making final preparations for its residency in Mongolia. From June 2 to 4, the Orchestra will send a delegation to engage in a series of people-to-people exchange activities. Those activities of June 2 and June 3 will include master classes, pop-up performances, and a small chamber concert in Ulaanbaatar.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of official U.S.-Mongolian diplomatic relations, which adds special significance to the goal of helping foster increased cross-cultural understanding, familiarity, and support. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s presence in Mongolia is possible because of support and advocacy from the United States Department of State and the United States Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, in recognition that this effort will help strengthen ties between our two countries and make an indelible mark on the entire region. Located between Russia and China, Mongolia describes the United States as its “most important third neighbor.” Mongolia adopted democracy in 1990 and has since conducted six presidential and six legislative elections. Congress (H.Res. 339 and S.Res. 189) has been influential over the last year in supporting Mongolian democracy and fostering U.S. Mongolian relations.
City-by-City Highlights (visit the Press Room for a full schedule of concerts and residency activities)
- Side-by-side chamber concert with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra on May 25
- Ambassador Nicholas Platt lecture on Cultural Diplomacy at the Shanghai Foreign Language Institute on May 26
- Full Orchestra concert at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center on May 26
- Concert on the grounds of the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone, adjacent to Shanghai Disney, on May 27
- Ambassador Platt lecture on Cultural Diplomacy at the National Library of China on May 29
- Side-by-Side concert with the Starry Sky Orchestra at the National Library of China Concert Hall on May 29
- Full Orchestra concert at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on May 30
- Pre-concert reception with U.S. Embassy on May 31
- Full Orchestra concert at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on May 31 in honor of its 10th Anniversary—broadcast on CCTV
- Residency activities at the Eastman Music Company Factory and the Central Conservatory of Music on June 1
- Master classes with musicians on June 2
- Additional residency activities on June 3
- Concert featuring Philadelphia Orchestra musicians on June 3
- Master class with Heart to Heart Orchestra and Korea United College Orchestra on June 6
- Chamber concert at Deokso Palace on June 6
- Full Orchestra concert at Lotte Concert Hall on June 7
- Chamber performance at New Cities Summit in Incheon in recognition of Philadelphia’s Sister City relationship on June 8
- Full Orchestra concert at Seoul Arts Center on June 8—broadcast on KBS Radio and TV
- Residency activities include a reading/coaching and rehearsal with the Hong Kong Youth Orchestra on June 10
- Reception hosted by the Hong Kong Consulate at the Hong Kong Consul General’s Residence on June 10
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2017 Tour of Asia and China Residency is made possible through the generous support of valued sponsors and partners.
Primary Partner—The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Presenting Sponsor in Korea—Amkor Technology, Inc.; Residency Sponsor in Beijing—Kawai; Beijing Partner—China Soong Ching Ling Foundation; Shanghai Partner—Shanghai Media Group; Official Airline in China—United; Official Law Firm in China—Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP; Mongolia Residency Partner— MIAT; Mongolia Residency Partner—Khan Bank; Mongolia Residency Partner—Oyu Tolgoi; Tour Partner—Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau; Tour Partner—Eastman; Official Tour of Asia PR Agency—Ruder Finn.
In addition, several government entities have been instrumental in creating new opportunities during this year’s tour. The United States Department of State, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce, the United States Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian Foreign Ministry, the Chester County Board of Commissioners, the Chester County Economic Development Council, and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Council deserve special mention for their advance support. Many of these organizations have also coordinated delegation or trade visits to various parts of China where key officials will intersect with the Orchestra at various stops, providing the opportunity to display the Orchestra’s model of artistic excellence and cultural diplomacy.
Consultant to The Philadelphia Orchestra
Mike Bruhn, Ruder Finn
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