Philadelphia Orchestra Returns to China to Mark 50 Years Since First Visit

02:31 November 7, 2023

Philadelphia Orchestra Returns to China to Mark 50 Years Since First Visit

The Philadelphia Orchestra arrived in Beijing Tuesday for a tour that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the group’s first visit to China.

The visit comes as the United States and China prepare for a meeting next week between their top leaders.

The orchestra’s 1973 trip has been called “historic” as an early example of the start of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. The orchestra’s visit followed President Richard Nixon’s visit in 1972. He was the first American president to visit China while in office.

Orchestra officials say 14 members are on the trip, including 73-year-old violin player Davyd Booth. Booth was among the visitors in 1973, as well.

“This constant 50-year connection with China has been really very deep and very wonderful,” Booth said after the group arrived at the Beijing airport.

The orchestra is making its 13th visit to China. It last visited in 2019.

The American musicians will perform with the China National Symphony Orchestra starting Friday. They will also visit the cities of Tianjin, Suzhou and Shanghai and hold special classes at schools.

Another cultural exchange is going on, too. The American Ballet Theatre is currently in China.

The music and dance group trips follow visits from high-level U.S. representatives. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo all traveled to China recently.

The U.S. and China have slowly been returning to normal communications after years of rising tensions and disputes.

The two countries are preparing for a meeting between President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation event in San Francisco next week.

I’m Dan Friedell.

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