Berlin Philharmonic takes up residency in Shanghai

At the most fragile moment in China’s relations with the rest of the world, Germany’s premier ensemble has planted its size-tens in Shanghai. Chancellor Merkel, meanwhile, is pushing through a questionable EU-China trade deal.

Who said music is above politics?

Press release: Together with Wu Promotion, the Berliner Philharmoniker is planning a residency project in Shanghai at two-year intervals, beginning in June 2022. The performances in June 2022 are part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and China.

Under the baton of chief conductor Kirill Petrenko, the orchestra will give four concerts during this first residency as part of a “Festival of the Berliner Philharmoniker”. Chamber music activities are also planned, as well as master classes, concert introductions and other outreach and community projects. In the course of this longer residency, the orchestra attaches great importance to a direct exchange with the musical and social life in Shanghai and encounters with local conditions.




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  • Probably just a straightforward business decision. Money usually comes before artistic and political considerations. Maybe we will get some panda diplomatic photos with the orchestra.

  • I was hoping for less orchestras and other classical musicians flying over the world after this pandemic. Classical music is one the most dirty forms of art. I was hoping for a big change to set an example to save the environment and our planet. But sad-fully the old traditions are already back.

    • Your take is so incredibly uninformed and ludicrous. With all the challenges facing classical music your take is that everyone should stop touring?! Why are you even on this site?

  • The Philadelphia Orchestra has had an extensive relationship with China for some years now that includes tour stops there most springs and even visits by select musicians for various activities in the years that they don’t play concerts there.

    I doubt that will change unless the political situation gets even worse.

    And naturally, they never hesitate to get on board with any woke cause at home and probably don’t see any contradiction there. Money talks, especially when your industry is in big trouble.

    • Why is this a contradiction? I’m sure Philly and other American Orchestras see this as an opportunity to serve as cultural ambassadors between these two nations! The need for that is great now!!!

    • I fail to understand what the fuss is about. A residency of 4 concerts does not sound like much. That orchestra and a good many others regularly spend two or three weeks touring Asia every few years. Wu Promotion has has been at the forefront of inviting major orchestras to perform in Greater China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong before or after their mainland concerts). China has money, it now has an incredible number of concert halls and increasingly a knowledgeable and interested public.

      As for dubious regimes, would Sean Hurley have the BP tour Britain or the USA with regimes that have murdered many hundreds of thousands of their citizens through their disastrous reactions to the corona virus pandemic? Better surely that the orchestra should visit Taiwan and non-democratic Vietnam which as of today has had totals of only 7 and 35 deaths respectively. (Vietnam, by the way, has a larger population than the UK).

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