Donald Runnicles to conduct Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2013 China Residency

Donald Runnicles, Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelia Orchestra

(Washington, DC, April 11, 2013)—The Philadelphia Orchestra—one of the world’s most renowned ensembles and cultural emissaries—today announced the details of its Residency in the People’s Republic of China, which focuses on high-level People-to-People Exchanges through grassroots engagement of Chinese musicians in the nation’s major cities and further into its provinces. Beginning May 29 and closing June 10, 2013, this innovative Residency will run concurrent with The Philadelphia Orchestra’s commemorative Fortieth Anniversary Tour of China, which will be conducted by Donald Runnicles, a frequent and valued partner of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Runnicles will conduct seven concerts in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing, and Macao during this Tour and may participate in certain residency activities. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will conduct the ensemble during its China Residency in 2014.

The Residency and Tour announcement was made on Capitol Hill with United States Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs. Representing a full circle moment, The Philadelphia Orchestra marks its historical legacy as the first U.S. orchestra to visit the nation in 1973 but looks toward a rich future in China highlighted by innovation and defined by its commitment to serve as both a cultural ambassador for the United States and a passionate advocate for Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Through master classes, lectures, coaching sessions, and musical workshops, the Residency will come to life and valuable People-to-People Exchanges will occur between members of the Orchestra and Chinese musicians. In support of this grassroots cultural engagement, this initiative has received sponsorship support from key partners including Sands China Ltd., Cigna Corporation, Coca-Cola China, Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA), and White and Williams, LLP, to date.

“The Philadelphia Orchestra has always looked to its past to inform its future,” said Allison Vulgamore, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Philadelphia Orchestra. “Since its inception, this ensemble has served as a cultural attaché wherever it has traveled. China was the vanguard in 1973 and the deep bonds established during that trip have not only sustained and nourished our relationship with the Chinese people but laid the groundwork for the important work of our Residency. I believe that 2013 is another vanguard moment for our Orchestra. Whether through lessons in poverty-stricken schools, small classical performances in hospitals, or through master classes with our principal musicians, it is our history that drives us to go beyond the hall and to pursue deeper cultural engagement within China.”

Reflecting upon the Residency details shared in his meeting with the Orchestra, Senator Casey said, “The Philadelphia Orchestra has long been a cultural emissary for the United States and will continue that legacy with its upcoming Residency program. I am impressed by the level of cultural engagement and educational outreach that the Orchestra will undertake, and I am proud that this Orchestra represents Pennsylvania so well around the world.”

The Philadelphia Orchestra builds upon the tremendous success of its 2012 pilot Residency by uniting its members with talented Chinese musicians through a multitude of activities including, but not limited to, master classes, lectures, and other musical workshops. Highlights include:

•    Sectional coachings with members of the Hangzhou Philharmonic
•    Cristian Macelaru, associate conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and 10 principal players rehearsing with the Children’s Ensemble in Shanghai in preparation for National Children’s Day
•    Master classes at Xinhui Media Group’s Campus for Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre (SHOAC) Partner Schools
•    Rehearsal and joint concert with the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra
•    Sectional coachings with members of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra
•    Sectional coachings with members of the China National Symphony Orchestra
•    A performance at Picun Migrant Worker’s Village Elementary School in Beijing
•    Career lectures by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra (administration, management, and musicians)
•    Lectures: “China: Then and Now” with Ambassador Nicholas Platt

The significance of this new Residency is recognized by patrons and sponsors, as well as diplomatic luminaries. Ambassador Nicholas Platt said, “I see this Residency as the beginning of ‘what happens next in the remarkable bond between The Philadelphia Orchestra and the People’s Republic of China. U.S.-China relations began with diplomacy, but became deeply rooted through trade, investment, sports, culture, and people-to-people exchanges. That is exactly what The Philadelphia Orchestra’s new Residency Initiative is built upon. This ensemble’s personal engagement of the Chinese people beyond the performance halls and the stages brings to fruition President Nixon’s vision in sending Eugene Ormandy and his Orchestra to the People’s Republic of China in 1973. It wasn’t simply about performances. It was about creating working relationships between our peoples—and in 2013 it still is.”

Sands China Ltd., which operates the Venetian in Macao, will serve as Platinum Sponsor of the Residency and commemorative Tour while Cigna Corporation is the Fortieth Anniversary Sponsor. Coca-Cola China will be a Supporting Sponsor. Also providing financial and civic support for this upcoming tour is Drexel University and White and Williams, LLP.

Tour dates, cities, and key details for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Fortieth Anniversary Tour include:

Friday, May 31    Hangzhou: Hangzhou Grand Theatre
*This is the first time that an American Orchestra will perform in this Chinese city
Saturday, June 1    Shanghai: Shanghai Oriental Arts Center
*National Children’s Day concert benefitting Soong Ching Ling-Pearl S. Buck Fund
Sunday, June 2    Shanghai: Shanghai Oriental Arts Center
*Fortieth Anniversary performance with the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra
Wednesday, June 5    Tianjin: Tianjin Grand Theater
Thursday, June 6    Beijing: National Center for the Performing Arts/”The Egg”
*Fortieth Anniversary performance with the China National Symphony Orchestra
Saturday, June 8    Macao: The Venetian Theatre
Sunday, June 9    Macao: The Venetian Theatre