Looking to the Past to Grow the Future: The Philadelphia Orchestra Travels to China

Zabeth Teelucksingh, for GPA -- I was recently privileged to attend a showcasing of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s upcoming visit to China. The Philadelphia Orchestra began its relationship with China in 1973 at the special request of President Richard Nixon. At the time, China and the United States were actively moving towards formal diplomatic relations. The Philadelphia Orchestra served as a key cultural ambassador in this process. They were, in fact, the first symphony to tour The People's Republic of China.

The Orchestra’s leaders have dug out of the archives significant footage with regards to that initial visit, footage that visually reinforces the Orchestra's great influence in the process of reknitting relations between what were once estranged world powers.

Fast forward forty years, and the Orchestra heads again to China -- between May 30th and June 6th, 2012 -- in a week of Residency and Performances in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Philadelphia’s sister city of Guangzhou.

This excursion is a significant event that will give the Orchestra wonderful exposure in China, capitalizing on its strong brand presence in that arena. The musicians are so well viewed in the Land of the Rising Sun, that several mentoring opportunities have presented themselves: young Chinese orchestras will be mentored by the seasoned musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra in a bid to improve their style and musicianship.

Allison Vulgamore, the powerful President & CEO of the Orchestra, along with marketing guru -- and Newsworks 2011 Creative Connecter -- Craig Hamilton, have masterminded this feat and in so doing are looking forward to re-establishing the Orchestra as a thriving force globally and in the Philadelphia region.

We can be thankful as they have made significant inroads in to the Chinese market and in so doing, the cultural economy. We salute the orchestra for their pro-active and innovative way to beat the financial deficit in which the found themselves at the end of 2011. The Philadelphia region will surely benefit from this initiative, musically and otherwise.

Files & Links