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The Philadelphia Orchestra and Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra to Perform Free Concert for Chinese New Year January 29, 2019

December 5, 2018

Concert coincides with 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations

between the U.S. and China

Program features new work by Peng-Peng Gong

(Philadelphia, December 5, 2018)—As a gift to the communities of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Orchestra will present a free concert in celebration of the Year of the Pig, joining the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) for a special one-night-only performance in Verizon Hall on January 29, 2019 at 7:30 PM. Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe will share the podium with the SPO’s Resident Conductor Liang Zhang, leading members of both orchestras in a side-by-side concert featuring the world premiere of the newly revised version of Peng-Peng Gong’s Symphony No. 10 (“Peking Fantasy”), a work co-commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra and the SPO. Tickets to the Chinese New Year concert are free and can be reserved at www.philorch.org/ChineseNewYear.

Inspired by the artistic power of Peking Opera, Peng-Peng Gong’s Symphony No. 10 translates the emotional and philosophical experience of the art form for international audiences. Scored for a large orchestra of over 100 players, the work incorporates numerous styles to capture different emotions and atmospheres. Among the symphony’s distinctive features are an offstage trumpet mourning for the heroine of The Drunken Beauty; a quoting of the ancient zither composition “Mad for Wine;” an imaginary portrayal of Peking Opera legend Mei Lanfang’s visit to New York in 1930; a variation on Mei’s signature sword dance from Farewell My Concubine; and the repeating, thundering percussion strikes typical of traditional Peking Opera performances.

“The Philadelphia Orchestra believes in making great music accessible to our communities,” said Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky. “We look forward to opening our doors in celebration of Chinese New Year, and to welcoming our friends from China for an evening of shared music-making that showcases the partnership between our two cultures.” 

The Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, part of the Shanghai Media Group’s Performing Arts Division, is a long-term strategic partner of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The two ensembles have worked together since 2016 to advance cultural exchange between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Joint activities have included a 2016 side-by-side concert to celebrate the grand opening of Disney Shanghai, musician coaching and a chamber music performance at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center in 2017, and a residency program in the summer of 2017 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

“The Shanghai Media Group and the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra have been exceptional partners in developing an innovative model of people-to-people exchange, and we are delighted to welcome them to Philadelphia for this side-by-side performance,” said Tarnopolsky. “As we mark the 40th anniversary of official diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China, we look forward to continuing to forge meaningful connections between our cultures and communities through music.”

In 1973, The Philadelphia Orchestra became the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China, at the request of President Richard Nixon. The Orchestra returned to China 20 years later and has since returned regularly, representing a bridge for cultural, educational, and diplomatic exchange.



Chinese New Year Concert

January 29 at 7:30 PM—Tuesday evening—Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts


The Philadelphia Orchestra

Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra

Liang Zhang Conductor

Kensho Watanabe Conductor


Li                                 Spring Festival Overture

Rimsky-Korsakov        Capriccio espagnol

Tchaikovsky                Capriccio italien

Gong                           Symphony No. 10 (“Peking Fantasy”) (world premiere of revised version)


This concert is supported by White and Williams LLP, the official law partner in China.

New Mainstream Press, Inc. is the official media partner of the Chinese New Year concert.




About The Philadelphia Orchestra

About the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra



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Ashley Berke



Alexa Vecchione