China tour good starting point for restarting exchanges: Philadelphia Orchestra conductor

Print Share Updated: 2023-11-13 14:19

Tristan Rais-Sherman, the assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducts on stage during a rehearsal of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the China National Symphony Orchestra in Beijing on Nov 8, 2023. [Photo/ Chen Tao GT]

The Philadelphia Orchestra, which in 1973 became the first US orchestra to visit China, is back in Beijing for a concert with the China National Symphony Orchestra. The joint performance, which will take place on Friday, marks the 50th anniversary of their groundbreaking cultural exchange that helped improve relations between the two countries.

The two orchestras will be led by Li Xincao, the chief conductor of the China National Symphony Orchestra, and Tristan Rais-Sherman, the assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Rais-Sherman, who joined the Philadelphia Orchestra two years ago, told the Global Times after Wednesday's rehearsal that he was honored to be part of this historic event.

The concert, hosted by China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism and organized by the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd, will feature a blend of Western and Chinese music.

Rais-Sherman added that he learned about the history of the Philadelphia Orchestra and China after the cooperation was confirmed nearly half a year ago.

"The Beethoven's Symphony No.5 we are going to play is actually historically connected to our visit as we first played it here in 1973. And we also have Tang Dynasty poetry songs and Erquan Yingyue, the choice of music is a blend of both, which is significant," he told the Global Times.

He also praised the cooperation with the China National Symphony Orchestra, saying it was fantastic to work with them for the first time.

"Every time working with a new orchestra, you don't know what would happen. We didn't really know each other at first. Everyone is finding each other and figuring things out from the beginning. However, by the end of today, the level here is very high. They (the Chinese orchestra) are very enthusiastic, flexible and they are great listeners," he said, adding that it was a privilege to be there.

"I hope that other American orchestras can continue to come back, and I hope this visit is a starting point of restarting the visits," he added.

"To be a major part of this is a special experience to me."

The Philadelphia Orchestra, which arrived in Beijing on Tuesday with 14 members, will also hold master classes, panel discussions, and a chamber music performance in Shanghai as part of their tour, which will also include stops in Suzhou and other cities.