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The Philadelphia Orchestra Asked by United States Department of State to Join Secretary Clinton and Other U.S. Dignitaries in China

April 30, 2012

The Philadelphia Orchestra to participate in the high-level U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing, showcasing its exemplary partnership with China

U.S. Embassy in Beijing requests Philadelphia Orchestra musicians to perform at the CPE Closing Reception to be held at the Embassy

 

(Philadelphia, April 30, 2012)—Expanding its long-standing and preeminent role as cultural ambassador between the United States and China, The Philadelphia Orchestra will participate in the high-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) May 3-4 in Beijing. The Orchestra’s presence and participation in the upcoming CPE comes at the direct request of the U.S. Department of State, which has publicly recognized the collaboration between The Philadelphia Orchestra and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing as a shining example of cultural exchange.

“We are honored and thrilled to have our world-renowned ensemble acknowledged—and requested—by the U.S. government for the upcoming Consultation on People-to-People Exchange,” said Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra. “Our partnership with NCPA is unparalleled in its size and scope and truly, it is groundbreaking. The Philadelphia Orchestra has always been at the forefront of cultural exchange and innovation as evidenced by our rich history with China. Our newest collaboration is rooted in the mission of CPE and we are proud that our China Residency will continue to enhance The Philadelphia Orchestra’s artistic, educational, and multicultural engagement on an international level.”

Craig Hamilton, The Philadelphia Orchestra’s vice president for global initiatives and government relations, will make a presentation at the CPE’s “Cultural Pillar” working session to share details of the Orchestra’s co-created China Residency, which serves as a pilot program in 2012. He will also discuss how this partnership with the NCPA will open new avenues for the Orchestra’s deeper engagement with China. The Orchestra’s Beijing Residency, beginning in late May 2012, will be marked by full concerts, chamber performances, community and education engagement, and discussions around U.S.-China relations, as well as lectures, coachings, and master classes. The Philadelphia Orchestra will also give the world premiere of An Interrupted Dream by Du Wei, this year’s winning composer selected from the Young Composers Program by the NCPA.

In 2010, shortly after The Philadelphia Orchestra helped open the World Expo in Shanghai, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognized the Orchestra’s long and authentic relationship with the people of China in remarks given at the NCPA. As a result of the Orchestra’s legacy, and in recognition of its renewed commitment to China through its recently-announced 2012 Residency and Tour of China, Philadelphia Orchestra musicians have been asked to perform at the CPE’s Closing Reception, which will mark the end of the two day consultation. Violinists Paul Arnold and Hirono Oka, violist Judy Geist, and cellist Kathryn Picht Read will travel to China next week and perform a variety of works for string quartet at the reception.

Thomas Skipper, minister counselor of public affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing spoke to the importance of the Orchestra’s innovative partnership with the NCPA during a joint press conference in Beijing on April 25, 2012, saying, “I can’t think of two more perfect partners—one of America’s most celebrated and important cultural institutions, and China’s premier performing arts venue.” He further stated, “This partnership will help cement people-to-people ties, those bonds of understanding and trust that allow us to work together more effectively to solve the problems of not just the U.S. and China, but the whole world.”

With the fundamental role that citizens play in fostering mutual understanding and cooperation, the United States and China inaugurated the Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in 2010 to strengthen ties between the citizens of both countries in the areas of culture, education, sports, science and technology, and women’s issues. In September 2011, with the encouragement of the U.S. Department of State and China Ministry of Culture, The Philadelphia Orchestra signed a collaborative agreement with the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Washington, D.C. This agreement not only expedited the planning for the Orchestra’s upcoming China Residency and Tour, but also laid the groundwork for a continued commitment to China through a sustained program beginning in 2013.   

 

About the 2012 Residency Week and Tour of China

In collaboration with the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing The Philadelphia Orchestra pilots a Residency Week and Tour of China in 2012. The weeklong residency in Beijing marks the first time any U.S. orchestra has co-created a long-term residency in the People’s Republic of China, opening a new door for the Orchestra’s deeper engagement with China. The 2012 Residency Week and Tour of China runs from May 28 until June 6, 2012, andpoints the way for a future of new collaborations—innovative institutional partnerships as well as new musical convening and performances. China Merchants Bank is the Orchestra’s Presenting Sponsor of the 2012 Residency Week and Tour of China. 

The Beijing Residency Week pilot program launches the Orchestra’s initial five-year relationship to connect through the hearts of local musicians to their supporting communities, launched through the sharing of musical talents between its own musicians and Chinese musicians, engaging in music education, and expanding awareness of classical music in local communities. The Residency Week includes three concerts, two free open rehearsals, community engagement activities, and U.S.-China diplomatic forums and cultural exchange programs. Additionally, from June 3-6, the Orchestra will tour in China, performing in nearby Tianjin—Philadelphia’s “sister city” in China—Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Chief Conductor Charles Dutoit, deeply beloved by Chinese audiences, will lead five of the six performances; Concertmaster David Kim leads a chamber orchestra concert.

 

About The Philadelphia Orchestra and China

Over the past 70 years, The Philadelphia Orchestra has been committed to its role as the preeminent cultural ambassador through both prosperous as well as troubled times in China’s history. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s archival records date back to a 1940’s charitable concert in support of Chinese war-battered hospitals, which connected the Orchestra with the people of 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. The Orchestra returned to China in 1993, 1996, and 2001 under Wolfgang Sawallisch; in 2008 under Christoph Eschenbach in the 35th Anniversary Concert commemorating the Orchestra’s first trip to China; and again in 2010 under Charles Dutoit to perform at the World Expo in Shanghai. 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 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.

 

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, Carl 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 about The Philadelphia Orchestra and its 2012 China Residency and Tour, please visit www.philorch.org