The Pacific Symphony said Tuesday it will tour China, the orchestra’s first trip to Asia.
Taking place May 9-15, the five-concert series will begin in Shanghai, visit three regional cities in China, including burgeoning Chongqing, and finish in Beijing.
“This is an artistic milestone for the orchestra,” said Pacific Symphony longtime Music Director Carl St. Clair in a statement, calling it an opportunity to “embrace cultural diplomacy and carry the message of music’s universality across the ocean and to the other side of the Pacific Rim.”
The program, to be repeated at each venue, includes three short pieces from Leonard Bernstein, tied to the composer’s centenary celebration this year. Also on the bill will be works by Mozart, Mussorsky and Ravel.
Violinist Pinchas Zukerman is accompanying the orchestra. He will be the featured soloist on Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3.
The culmination of the China Tour in Beijing will find the orchestra playing one of the three halls at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a spectacular sparkling titanium structure known as “The Giant Egg.” The Centre has a dome of titanium and glass and is surrounded by an artificial lake; French architect Paul Androu’s design, completed in 2007, is made to represent an egg floating on water.
“Since 2013 we have been devoted to engaging with the (local) Chinese community and building on its enthusiasm for symphonic music,” said Pacific Symphony president John Forsythe. He added that the China tour “is the logical extension of the work we have been doing in Orange County.”
Funding for the tour is coming from a variety of local sources, including the Segerstrom family.
“The institution is grateful to Sandy Segerstrom Daniels and Sally Segerstrom for their visionary commitment as lead sponsors of the tour,” said Joann Leatherby, the Pacific Symphony’s board chairman.
The orchestra has another splashy out-of-town gig lined up this spring.
In late April the ensemble will make its debut in Carnegie Hall with a program featuring the New York premiere of Phillip Glass’ “The Passion of Ramakrishna,” a piece the orchestra co-commissioned and world premiered at Segerstrom Hall in 2006.
The China trip will be the orchestra’s second international foray. In 2006, the…