Yannick and the Orchestra embarked on their 2019 Tour of China on Tuesday, May 14, bringing the “Philadelphia Sound” to Beijing, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Shanghai, with Shanghai-born pianist Haochen Zhang as soloist. The 2019 visit marks the Orchestra’s 12th tour of China—the most of any American orchestra—and commemorates 40 years of official U.S.-China diplomatic relations.
The tour begins with a week-long residency in Beijing that includes two concerts, an open rehearsal, panel discussions, a side-by-side chamber performance with musicians of the National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, and performances during the first-ever China International Music Competition, presented by the China Conservatory of Music. The Orchestra then performs in Philadelphia’s sister city, Tianjin, before giving a performance in Hangzhou, making its debut in Nanjing, and concluding with a 40th anniversary concert and residency activities in Shanghai.
Clarinetist Socrates Villegas (left) and French horn player Ernesto Tovar Torres (right) meet on 15th St. in Philadelphia to catch the bus to Newark Liberty International Airport.
Flutist Olivia Staton photobombs Principal Timpani Don Liuzzi.
Assistant Principal Viola Kerri Ryan arrives at the Kimmel Center with her daughter, Vivian, who was there to see off Mom and Dad (violinist William Polk, not pictured).
Violist Renard Edwards gets ready to board the bus. A member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1970, he was on the historic 1973 tour to China, the first by any American orchestra to that country.
Violinist Davyd Booth brings his luggage into Newark Airport. Davyd is one of only four current members of the Orchestra who was on the historic 1973 tour to China. Photo by Chris Lee
Cellist Robert Cafaro (right) poses with the tour’s doctor, Glenn Newell, upon arrival at Newark Airport. Photo by Chris Lee
Orchestra Board Chairman Richard B. Worley (left) greets violinist Jonathan Beiler on the plane. Photo by Chris Lee
Cellist Kathryn Picht Read settles in for the nearly 14-hour flight to Beijing with some needlepoint. Photo by Chris Lee
Cellist Richard Harlow spends some of his in-flight time looking over music, both on paper and on his laptop. Photo by Chris Lee
After a long flight, the tour party arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport. Photo by Chris Lee
(L to r): Piccolo player Erica Peel, horn player Ernesto Tovar Torres, and flutist Olivia Staton waste no time grabbing a bite to eat after settling in at their hotel. Photo by Chris Lee
(L to r): Violinists Hirono Oka and Barbara Govatos order some local cuisine on their first night in Beijing. Photo by Chris Lee
The Philadelphia Orchestra staff enjoys a traditional Chinese dinner. Photo by Chris Lee
Orchestra Executive Director Ryan Fleur (second from right) attended a media salon in Beijing hosted by the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), supporting sponsor of the tour. Joining Ryan are (left to right) Kimberly Barrett, international communications manager, PHLCVB; Mike Bowman, president and CEO, the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board; Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO, PHLCVB; and Alina Xiang, president and CEO, East West Marketing.