We could not share our talent in China without the support of our city. And while our relationship with China has deep roots, they are young compared with those we have nurtured with Philadelphia for more than 100 years. This is home, and we are proud to be your ambassador on the world's stages and in its neighborhoods. From Shanghai to Tianjin to Beijing, Philadelphia was spoken of with an abiding love, respect, and admiration.
And that was before the YouTube sensation of our "pop-up" on a plane! Our pop-up performance, in which four of the orchestra's string players performed the finale of Dvorák's "American" string quartet while stranded on a plane for seven hours in Beijing, reflected the orchestra's willingness to embrace the moment. There is an element of serendipity on tour, and while we wouldn't have predicted that a travel delay would bring one of our proudest moments, it did. I am grateful to our musicians for their keen understanding that in a situation often marked by anger, their music could not only soothe, but enrapture.
That moment was representative of everything we do on and off stage, and everything we do in the name of Philadelphia. We are your orchestra first. And what we achieved in China could happen only because of what we do here. Our work in Philadelphia informs what we share with the world.
This orchestra and its musicians engage the city in myriad musical activities. Through our partnership with the Philadelphia schools, free neighborhood concerts that reach tens of thousands a year, musical programs for families and children, and support for the Curtis Institute of Music, Play On, Philly!, Settlement Music School, and other community organizations, we work to bring music to Philadelphia every way we can. Our musicians are truly teaching artists - on the stage, in the classroom, and, yes, even on a plane. We think globally but always act locally.
We are ever thankful to our patrons and sponsors for their continued cheers and support, especially as we welcomed Yannick Nézet-Séguin as music director this season. We are grateful to our city for allowing us to share our sound with the world, especially with our dear friends in China. Above all, though, we are proud to be your "Fabulous Philadelphians," and we look forward to seeing you this summer.
Allison Vulgamore is the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra.