Reviving the ancient Silk Road: The concert tour of China Philharmonic Orchestra
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Organized by Wu Promotion and Sponsored by Hong Gao, the China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) finished their tour along the ancient Silk Road with ...

Organized by Wu Promotion and Sponsored by Hong Gao, the China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) finished their tour along the ancient Silk Road with a final concert in Athens on August 19th.

Between August 6th and 19th,2015, after more than 6 months of careful planning and preparation, CPO traveled over 10 thousand miles from the East of Asia to the south of Europe In honor of the Silk Road, which in ancient days also played a major role in cultural exchange between east and West. Staging a total of 7 concerts in 6 cities along this ancient trading route, CPO made their debut in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Greece. The tour attracted a lot of attention from media both domestic, since the tour forms a cultural aspect of the “One Belt One Road” Policy announced by Xi Jinping in 2013 as well as internationally describing the concerts in Iran as cultural diplomacy and a start of more open relations with the Islamic Republic.

After the opening concert in Beijing on July 25th, conducted by the principle conductor of Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Rahbari, CPO staged the first concert of the tour abroad in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on August 6th. It was a very exciting start of the tour, as the orchestra encountered a power cut during the performance. Rather than interrupting the performance though, the orchestra continued to play in the dark, with vacant musicians helping their colleagues out with flash lights, until the electricity recovered.  The professional handling of this unexpected technical problem resulted in a very cozy concert that gained huge applause from the audience.

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The poster of CPO in front of the Tajikistan National Theater

The Concerts in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Almaty, Kazakhstan were also successful and received great feedback from the audiences. August 10th, the day of the concert in Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory in Almay, also marked the birthday of concert master and first Violinist, Yun Chen. The Orchestra celebrated his birthday after the performance and the directors of CPO and Jiatong Wu (General Manager of Wu Promotion), gave him a Kalpak a traditional Central-Asian Style hat.

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Concertmaster and First Violinist Yun Chen, wearing his Kalpak, on his birthday celebration together with
Jiatong Wu (General Manager of Wu Promotion), Nan Li (President of CPO),
and Long Yu (Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of CPO).

The two most significant concerts of the tour, both in terms of impact and artistic achievement were the two concerts in Iran Vahdat Hall . These performances , on august 13 and 14ht  were a joint concert between CPO and Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and conducted by both Long Yu (Artistic Director and Chief Conductor) and Ali Rahbari (conductor of TSO). Particularly the second concert, with two encores and seven curtain calls, was a huge success.

CPO new 1Long Yu (Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of CPO)
and Ali Rahbari (conductor of Tehran Symphony Orchestra)

As CPO was the first foreign orchestra to visit Iran after the UN Security Council and Iran, reached an agreement on Iran’s Nuclear program after many years of dispute, the performances received a lot of attention from international media. The concert was attended by the Chinese ambassador to Iran as well as important figures from the Iranian government including supreme leader of Iran, the minister of Iran Culture and Council of Islamic Guidance and the family of President Rouhani.

One piece of the programme was Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in e minor 'From the New World', Op. 95, this piece, composed when Dvorak lived in the US, is generally recognized as a symbol of intercultural dialogue.  This choice of program, particularly because Long Yu borrowed the original scores from New York Philharmonic Orchestra, received  positive feedback of both New York Times and Washington Post, praising the organization for its cultural diplomacy, stating that for a Chinese Orchestra to bring “this American flavored music …to Iran… China is planting a flag to show itself as a player in the international cultural community”.

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Principle Conductor Long Yu and musicians of CPO displayed
the original scores of Antonín Dvořák’s ‘From the New World

This tour was also the first time for CPO to travel to Greece. Greece is the point where the “Overland Silk Road” and the “Maritime Silk Road” meet and CPO staged a concert in Nikos Kazantzakis in Crete, one of the cradles of Western Civilization, as well as in the nearly two thousand years old, Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens. The concert of CPO in Nikos Kazantzakis market was a highlight of the cultural year in Crete and in Athens the performances was part of the Athens & Epidaurus Festival.

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CPO attended Athens and Epidaurus Festival in Odeon of Herodes Atticus

With the wide media coverage both in China and abroad, and the strong support from the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs and its representation in the countries along the Silk Road as well as from local organizations such as the Rudaki foundation in Iran, The Silk Road tour of China Philharmonic Orchestra, was a great success and one of the most remarkable tours in the history of Wu Promotion. 

Clipping Report:

New York Times
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/china-philharmonic-orchestra-to-play-in-tehran/?_r=0

Washington Pose
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/china-philharmonics-silk-road-tour-wends-to-iran/2015/08/16/c1475f8e-4460-11e5-8e7d-9c033e6745d8_story.html

Tehran Times
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=248621

Xinhua Net
http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2015-08/07/c_128104326.htm

CCTV
http://tv.people.com.cn/n/2015/0807/c39805-27429239.html

Ifeng News
http://v.ifeng.com/news/world/201508/01eb1541-f232-4619-863f-e83222108f76.shtml

Beijing Youth Post
http://epaper.ynet.com/html/2015-08/08/content_148127.htm?div=-1

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