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UPDATED: July 13, 2015
Bound for China
A U.S. youth orchestra is traveling to China for a landmark tour
By Huang Wei

Three instrumentalists from the orchestra perform a march entitled The Washington Post March at a reception hosted by the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in New York on July 7 (HUANG WEI)

The National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA), which features 114 outstanding young musicians from across the country, will soon travel to China for its historic first visit to Asia.

From July 15-26, the orchestra will make its Asian debut with seven concerts  in seven cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, Sir Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, announced at a reception hosted by the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in New York on July 7.

Gillinson said that the orchestra's first tour to China will undoubtedly present an amazing opportunity for musical and cultural discovery.

"All members of the orchestra are not just musicians, but also cultural ambassadors of China-U.S. relations," Consul General Zhang Qiyue said at the reception.

Established by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute in 2013, the NYO-USA shines a spotlight on the depth of talent among young instrumentalists across the United States. The members of the 2015 orchestra--of all ages between 16-19 and hailing from 37 U.S. states--have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as being among the finest musicians in the country, following a comprehensive audition process. This summer's orchestra features 40 returning musicians from the 2013 and 2014 NYO-USA. The orchestra also includes 25 musicians on its roster with Chinese ancestry, some of whom will be performing for extended family in China for the first time. The program is free to all participants.

Joined by internationally renowned pianist Li Yundi as guest soloist, the concert program to be performed at all concert venues will include the premiere of Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds by groundbreaking Chinese composer Tan Dun, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, as well as Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) and Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.

Written especially for NYO-USA, Tan Dun's passacaglia draws on musical forms and methods from East and West, and from ancient and modern musical forms. "The new work incorporates the sounds of nature like birdsong, an element frequently used in traditional Chinese music, with some sounds digitally recorded and played on smartphones, turning the devices into instruments that reflect our life and spirit today," Tan told attendees at the reception.

"I believe the mission of the orchestra is not just bringing music, but also sharing our experience with [the] Chinese audience, which will make our tour remarkable," Emma Richman from Minnesota said during her speech at the reception as a representative of the orchestra.

 (Reporting from New York City) 


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