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Ormandy in China: The Historic 1973 Tour
Ormandy in China

Exhibition Poster



The 1973 tour of the People's Republic of China by the Philadelphia Orchestra was a landmark political and cultural event. In the late 1960s, as tension mounted between China and the Soviet Union, the United States saw an opportunity to establish diplomatic ties with China and increase pressure on their common enemy, the Soviet Union. Following on the heels of Ping Pong Diplomacy (reciprocal visits by American and Chinese table tennis players) in 1971 and U.S. President Richard Nixon's trip to China in 1972, the tour by the Philadelphia Orchestra'the first trip to mainland China by an American orchestra'marked an important milestone in the improvement of relations between the two countries.

In recognition of the fortieth anniversary of this historic tour, "Ormandy in China" reexamines the ten-day visit and places the tour in the context of the political and cultural climate of the time. The trip was full of surprises for Ormandy and the orchestra, ranging from program changes dictated by Jiang Qing (Mao Zedong's wife) to an unexpected layover in Alaska on the return flight, but the tour was considered a great success and eventually led to subsequent visits to China by the orchestra, most recently in spring 2012.

This exhibit was on display from November, 2012 through 2014. Unless otherwise noted, all materials are taken from the Eugene Ormandy Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Introduction The Trip Repertory for the Tour Central Harmonic Society Third Concert in Beijing Orchestra as Tourists Performances by the Chinese After the Tour Sond Recordings