Philly to lead US cultural diplomacy in China

Philly to lead US cultural diplomacy in China


norman lebrecht

September 14, 2023

The Philadelphia Orchestra is sending 14 players to China to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its icebreak tour in 1973, it was announced today – on the actual anniversary of their landing.

One of the musicians, violinist Davyd Booth, survives from the first excursion. The others are:
Tristan Rais-Sherman, assistant conductor
Yu-Ting Chen, violin
Willa Finck, violin
Daniel Han, violin
Mei Ching Huang, violin
Philip Kates, violin
Amy Oshiro-Morales, violin
Marvin Moon, viola
Ohad Bar-David, cello
John Koen, cello
Elizabeth Masoudnia, English horn
Ricardo Morales, principal clarinet
Nicole Jordan, principal librarian

Since that first visit, the Orchestra has returned 11 times, lastly in 2019.


  • A.L. says:

    And this while on strike? Makes no sense. Didn’t Philly also recently cancel a European tour for lack of funding? (I could be mistaking the orchestra. Apologies if I am.)

    • Maynard says:

      The musicians have authorized a strike, the contract has expired, a best and final offer was vetoed down by the musicians. The musicians are not yet on strike, nor is their a lockout. They canceled an upcoming California trip, due to logistical reasons based upon the terms of the CBA.

  • zayin says:

    There is no such thing as “cultural diplomacy” just propaganda by totalitarian governments exploiting naive and publicity desperate classical musicians in the West.

    Hmmm, let’s ask the NY Philharmonic how their “cultural diplomacy” in North Korea went.

    • benjamin franklin says:

      Let’s take stock of things since 1973:

      China is closer to Russia and North Korea today, holding joint military exercises and sharing stolen weapons technology from the West

      China has reclaimed Hong Kong and taken away democratic rule and freedom of expression

      China is preparing to blockade Taiwan, claim the entire South China Sea as it’s own, encroach on Vietnamese and Philippine waters and Indian territory

      China steals Western technology, outright or by espionage

  • Hunter Biden's Laptop says:

    Where’d all your ivory tower sanctimony go? China has occupied Tibet for decades; provides economic and military support to North Korea; openly abuses ethnic Uyghurs; and brazenly threatens Taiwan on a daily basis to name but a few of China’s transgressions. You all lose your minds over some Chinese opera singer warbling in Kiev, but have absolutely no reservations whatsoever propping up the CCP under the guise of some cultural exchange. Without double standards, you opportunists wouldn’t have any standards at all.

    • Nick2 says:

      And how precisely does a small bunch of musicians “prop up the CCP”? That’s just plain nonsense!

      • Hal Sacks says:

        The original idea was for the entire Orchestra to return 50 years later. Probably difficult finding corporate or local sponsors nowadays and the CCP Stipend wasn’t enough. They had to commemorate it somehow.

    • Morgan says:

      . . . and you M. Laptop have no sense of nuance in your reasoning.

  • drummerman says:

    No percussion? This old drummer protests.