American diplomatic relations with China began 35 years ago, but the Philadelphia Orchestra’s relationship with China goes back further — to when it first visited the Communist country in 1973. The orchestra is continuing that long relationship with a five-year cultural exchange with China.
Later this year, the Chinese will be reciprocating. China’s official orchestra, based in Beijing at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, will tour seven U.S. cities in the fall.
A two-day stay in Philadelphia – November 6 and 7 – will include a concert in the Kimmel Center and heretofore undetermined community activities.
“We’ve been influencing each other these last few years … they would very much like to come and do some giving back to our community,” said Alison Vulgamore, Philadelphia Orchestra president and CEO. “Those are always designed between the two parties just shortly before they travel across the waters, because that’s when we know what most communities will want us to do.”
The concert in Philadelphia will feature star soloist Yuja Wang on piano. The Chinese musicians will perform pieces by Ravel, Tchaikovsky, and Qigang Chen, a contemporary Chinese composer based in France.