Renowned US orchestra expects closer collaboration with China

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The Philadelphia Orchestra expects more cooperation with China to contribute to the development of China-U.S. cultural exchanges and bilateral ties, the orchestra's chief has said.

"Forty years of diplomatic relations between the United States and China is an incredibly significant moment in both our countries' histories," said Matias Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

While celebrating this anniversary of the official ties, it is equally important to advance people-to-people relations, he added.

Founded in 1900, The Philadelphia Orchestra is widely recognized as a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the United States, due to its longtime tradition of frequent collaboration with domestic and international communities.

In 1973, the orchestra pioneered cultural exchange with China at the special request of then U.S. President Richard Nixon, becoming the first U.S. orchestra to make a tour to the People's Republic of China since its founding.

"The relationship between The Philadelphia Orchestra and the audiences in China predates diplomatic relations ... So, we have a responsibility to continue to build on those connections and to make them stronger," said Tarnopolsky, adding that his orchestra is "always looking for the next chance for greater collaboration" with China.

"We love making music with musicians, both professional and nonprofessional musicians. In China, there's an incredibly high standard. And it's wonderful to be a part of it," said the chief executive, who is also a classically trained musician.

Music has the magic power to transcend language and culture. Through such kind of exchanges, "challenges seem to melt away," according to Tarnopolsky.

The orchestra's interaction with the Chinese counterparts has been flourishing since its first historic visit to China more than 45 years ago.

The orchestra established longstanding partnership with the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing and the Shanghai Oriental Art Center as well as the Shanghai Media Group Performing Arts Division.

The Philadelphia Orchestra and China's Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra have worked together since 2016 to advance cultural exchanges between the two nations.

Calling the orchestra's 40-plus years of partnership with China "incredibly meaningful," Tarnopolsky said "it is a privilege to contribute another chapter to the storied relationship between our two countries."

The Philadelphia Orchestra announced earlier this week that it will visit China on May 16-28 -- the orchestra's 12th tour to China -- to mark the 40th anniversary of U.S.-China diplomatic relations. 

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