Philadelphia Orchestra will give concerts in China

Posted: September 23, 2011

The Philadelphia Orchestra is recasting its traditional tour of Asia as a China residency.

As outlined months ago in the orchestra's strategic plan, the musicians will travel to China, performing and adding an educational component. The program is expected to commence in May.

Orchestra officials announced the China project Thursday after what they said was a private signing ceremony of a letter of intent with Chen Ping, president of the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

Five concerts in four cities will be led by chief conductor Charles Dutoit, an orchestra spokeswoman said.

A contract between the orchestra and the arts center has not been signed, but that is expected within 30 days, the spokeswoman said.

The orchestra's May 19 strategic plan noted the ensemble's long tradition of touring internationally, but said that "if any international touring is undertaken, it will be at least revenue-neutral overall. Also, it is our intent to design the China residency to be transferable in five years to other possible countries or regions of U.S. State Dept. interest, such as Cuba or North Korea."

When the orchestra played China in 1973, it was the first U.S. ensemble to perform there since the communist revolution of 1949, in an era when repertoire had to be approved by Jiang Qing, Mao Tse-tung's wife.


Contact staff writer Peter Dobrin at 215-854-5611 or pdobrin@phillynews.com. Read his blog at http://www.philly.com/artswatch.

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