The Philadelphia Orchestra has entered an agreement with the government of Mongolia to be the first Western orchestra to tour that country.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is planning an Asian tour for 2017, including four days in Mongolia to perform and interact with Mongolian musicians and community groups.
The trip will be designed to boost musical, diplomatic, and economic exchanges.
“Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the top orchestras in the United States. Very famous orchestra in the world,” said Bulgaa Altangerel, the Mongolian ambassador in Washington. “It is also very, very important for strengthening our relations. Not only in the field of culture. It strengthens our economic relations.”
Mongolia has an ancient, nomadic culture. For most of the 20th century it was under Communist rule as one of the Soviet republics. Russian orchestras have toured Mongolia.
It elected its own democratic government in 1990, and only recently started attracting investment to move toward the modern age.
“For us, it’s a big honor,” said Craig Hamilton, the orchestra’s vice president of government relations. “They are at a point where they are proud of how far they’ve come in the last 30 years, politically. I want to be sure that, as that country grows and continues to be invested in, their culture not be lost.”
The 2017 tour will be modeled on “people-to-people” diplomacy, in which orchestra musicians will directly interact and collaborate with Mongolians.
“As global neighbors, no matter which country we’re working with, it’s really understanding the culture, the people, what their goals are, how they want to be represented to the rest of the world, and how the Philadelphia Orchestra can help them communicate that to the rest of the world,” said Hamilton.
Tour planners will consult with the Mongolian government, to better address what its citizens want from a Western orchestra.