John Koen of the Philadelphia Orchestra, right, goes over the score with his counterpart from the China National Symphony Orchestra for a concert at Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

In an opinion article in Thursday’s (11/16) New York Times, Matías Tarnopolsky, president and chief executive of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Center, writes, “While presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping were drawing the world’s attention for their talks in San Francisco this week, a different kind of summitry is happening in China. There, representatives from their two countries are speaking through violins, cellos, oboes, and clarinets. I write from Beijing, almost exactly 50 years after the Philadelphia Orchestra arrived as the first American orchestra to perform in China in a key moment of Ping-Pong diplomacy. I traveled there to be with a group of its musicians for two weeks of concerts mingling American and Chinese musicians, master classes, chamber music performances and panel discussions. It may seem naïve to argue that a symphony orchestra can help solve the world’s problems. But a lifetime in music has convinced me that it’s not only worth the effort to try to do our part; it is our responsibility…. [Our China trips are] not a signal of approval of China’s policies. Rather, our journeys to China signify a belief in the possibility of change through dialogue. They make real the principle that music communicates shared ideas and feelings that words alone cannot convey.”