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Photo: Chip Shorter | Courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0 / The Daily Pennsylvanian

In a tour that includes visits to Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Beijing and Japan, the Philadelphia Orchestra is expanding its connection with the people of China through additional avenues beyond sold-out concerts. More than a tour that focuses exclusively on music, this 2016 tour includes social cross-cultural components as well.

In a May 25 visit to the Eastman Strings workshop just outside of Beijing, select orchestra members including associate concertmaster Ying Fu, violinist Amy Oshiro-Morales, acting associate principal cellist John Koen and principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales performed Mozart’s Clarinet Quartet for workshop workers and their children.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is on its final trip to China, in the final year of a five-year residency agreement with the Chinese government.

The tour symbolized the culmination of the Orchestra’s HEAR activities collaboration with the workshop, a part of the “Buy One, Give One” instrument program partnership with the School District of Philadelphia. For every instrument bought through Eastman Strings workshop designed specifically for HEAR, one student in the school district receives a donation from the workshop.

In addition to these community-oriented events, the orchestra hosted a reunion with members of the historical first visit to China in 1973 before leaving Beijing. In Macao, Orchestra members interacted with the local youth at the Macao Conservatory of Music.

As a presenting sponsor for the tour, the Penn Wharton China Center participated in community and social engagements in Beijing. The engagement included masterclasses given to Chinese students hosted by current Philadelphia Orchestra members which culminated in a reception in Beijing on May 24.

Regarding the collaboration, Ryan Fleur, executive vice president of orchestra advancement, voiced similar goals of commitment to international cultural diplomacy, in addition to the major part that the PWCC has played in these goals.

“Our current tour and residency fully embodies this ideal,” said Fleur, “With the Penn Wharton China Center, the Orchestra has aligned two of Philadelphia’s best brands to promote our work on this tour, with a focus on Beijing.”

The PWCC opened in March 2015 in Beijing, symbolizing the long-term relation between the two countries over academia and public relations.

Among its missions, the PWCC aims to expedite Penn faculty and student research in China, hoping to help students stay interconnected in a global environment.

In its collaboration with the Orchestra, the PWCC aimed to remain devoted to its key missions: interpersonal connections and fostering a people-to-people exchange.

Amy Gadsden, Penn Global executive director and executive director of Penn China Initiatives, voiced excitement for the opportunity for a pursuit of conjunction with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The tour concludes on on June 5.

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