“If Ping-Pong diplomacy is what paved the way for President Richard M. Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972 to re-establish the United States’ official relationship with China, then one could say it was the visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra the following year that truly cemented it,” writes Amy Qin on Friday’s (6/7) New York Times ArtsBeat blog. That 1973 performance “was the first-ever given by an American orchestra in Communist-led China. Now, 40 years later, the Philadelphia Orchestra is commemorating the anniversary of its visit with a two-week, multicity tour of China…. Just 40 years ago, the status of Western classical music in China was radically different… Music conservatories were closed and most traditional music, including Western classical music, was banned altogether.… ‘Now China has become one of the great audiences in classical music,’ said Davyd Booth, a violinist and one of the nine members traveling on the current tour who participated in the 1973 performance, who has come back to China with the orchestra seven times since his first visit in 1973. ‘Some people even go so far as to say the audience in China as a whole is going to be the savior for classical music. I can see that happening.’” A separate article by Kelly Chung Dawson in Friday’s (6/7) China Daily (New York edition) covers a related topic: the rising interest in China-U.S. cultural exchanges. 

Pictured: From left, Christopher Deviney, Don S. Liuzzi and Angela Zator Nelson of the Philadelphia Orchestra performing at a school outside Beijing on Friday. Photo by Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

Posted June 10, 2013