New York Philharmonic Tours Asia

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by Seulah Song
Music Director Designate, Jaap van Zweden, conducting the New York Philharmonic [image: The New York Philharmonic Website]

The New York Philharmonic successfully completed its 10-day Asia tour led by Music Director Designate, Jaap van Zweden. The ASIA 2018 tour, March 8 – 18, featured eight concerts in five cities: Beijing, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Taipei. A Beijing-born piano virtuoso, Yuja Wang, and the acclaimed Japanese-American violinist, Ryu Goto, joined the tour as well. “Touring is a wonderful vehicle not only to share our music-making with audiences around the world but also to deepen our musical relationship,” van Zweden added. The orchestra performed Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, and J. Wagenaar’s Cyrano de Bergerac Overture.

The New York Philharmonic has journeyed to Asia since 1961 to build relationships through the universal language of music. This tour marks the Philharmonic’s 14th visit to Tokyo with 52 performances, and the orchestra has long histories with many other Asian cities as well. After the tour came to an end in Taipei last Sunday, on March 18, Jaap van Zweden headed to South Korea to perform with Gyeonggi Philharmonic. Maestro van Zweden will kick off the “virtuoso series” that will invite renowned conductors from abroad.

Music often has been an emblem of connection that bridges the gap between East and West. China and The New York Philharmonic have also established a firm relationship through a Residency Partnership between Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) and the New York Philarmonic's conservatory collaboration project, Global Academy. The Philharmonic’s long-term relations with global educational institutions through personal coaching, seminars, and other interactions with the students have not only garnered mutual understandings, but also further deepened their cultural connections. Moreover, WFMT Radio Network in Chicago launched ‘NY Sounds’ in Shanghai in 2015 — another major underpinning of the musical exchange between China and New York. The radio station features live radio broadcasts from The New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Seulah Song is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington D.C. and a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.