Music helps forge connections

By Mingmei Li in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-09 09:53
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Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by conductor Eugene Ormandy (center), tour the Great Wall on Sept 18, 1973. WU JIGUO/XINHUA

Educational collaborations

This year's trip of the Philadelphia Orchestra is not just about performing in major concert halls in China, but also about collaborating and cooperating with Chinese high schools, universities and civic and cultural entities, and maintaining partnerships throughout China with some of the leading performing arts organizations as well.

The orchestra is hosting a 50th anniversary side-by-side concert with the China National Symphony Orchestra at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on Friday, and is also collaborating with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has also built educational relationships with the Tianjin Juilliard School, the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra and the Tianjin Conservatory of Music. It is going to perform in Tianjin on Saturday, Suzhou on Nov 16, and at the Shanghai Children's Palace and Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum on Nov 18.

"We have collaborated with great composers and have campaign collaborations within our concerts in China," Tarnopolsky said. "We also collaborated with folk musicians."

Tarnopolsky said they have collaborated with folk musicians around China during a historic visit to Minzu University of China in Beijing, engaging with diverse ethnic musicians.

They have a deep and meaningful connection with Shanghai Tech University, he said, and they have held master classes and panel discussions in Shanghai.

"We provide world-class musical performances on its campus and engage students in musical activities that expand the boundaries of imagination, science, and creativity.

"The trip was so important because it humanized, each for the other," he said. "Music stands very closely with the values: Collaboration and cooperation, hearing and listening, and of free expression. All these things that music represents in the world which are only good things, so that you know wherever we perform, wherever the Philadelphia Orchestra performs, music has some intrinsic and unifying qualities that are very important to help make the world a better place."

He said both the Chinese and US governments have been very supportive of this trip.

"Music is a very unifying and democratizing force. Music is deeply valued in China and in the US at the highest levels of our government. We go as an independent organization, but we deeply appreciate the support we receive both from the US government and the Chinese government.

"We're very excited to be going back to China. It's been four years since 2019. We usually go every two years. It's thrilled to be reconnecting (with) China in person," he said. "When other forms of communication aren't working, music does work."

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