China gives warm welcome to returning Philadelphia Orchestra

Fifty years after its first-ever concert in China, the Philadelphia Orchestra is returning to China to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ensemble's historic 1973 tour, the first by an American orchestra. A group of 14 musicians from the ensemble will travel to Beijing, Tianjin, Suzhou and Shanghai to hold residency activities and perform concerts. The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries held a warm reception party on Thursday night to welcome the ensemble back and mark 50 years of friendship at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

In the midst of the festive reception, the Beijing Philharmonic Choir, joined by a delegation from the Philadelphia Orchestra, delivered a captivating rendition of the Chinese classic, "Jasmine Flower."

And in a touching tribute to history, violinist Davyd Booth, who was part of that original 1973 tour, joins this anniversary journey. What a beautiful sense of continuity, bridging generations through music. 

Matias Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, said at the reception that music has the power to connect and build bridges.

"It has been our privilege to contribute in a meaningful way to U.S.-China understanding and connection for the past half-century. We hope that our music-making will continue to build bridges between our people and cultures for another 50 years," he added.

Since that groundbreaking tour led by Eugene Ormandy in 1973, the Philadelphia Orchestra has served as a musical ambassador, connecting cultures through the universal language of music. 

The orchestra's influence extends beyond the concert hall – reaching educational institutions, community engagements, and resulting in long-term partnerships. This is more than just a tour; it's a celebration of enduring friendship and cultural exchange. 

As the 1973 tour remains etched in people's memories, Thursday's events reinforce the power of music to build bridges between people and cultures. Here's to 50 years of friendship, and many more to come!

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