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2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency, Day 9: On to Changsha and Hometown Premiere of Nu Shu

May 28, 2014

5/27/14, Changsha: With visits to five cities in China during the 2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency, sometimes it seems as though Orchestra members are as familiar with airports as they are with concert stages. Violinist Booker Rowe with his wife, Patsy, and his daughter, Vivian, arrive at Changsha Huanghua International Airport. Rowe was a member of the Orchestra during the historic 1973 visit to China. Photo by Jan Regan.

5/27/14, Changsha: The first half of the concert was the local premiere of Tan Dun’s Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, Symphony for Microfilms, Harp, and Orchestra. Changsha, in Hunan Province, was the birthplace of Tan Dun and also the origin of the Nu Shu language, which is featured prominently in the piece. Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen is congratulated by Yannick following the very emotional performance. Photo by Jan Regan.

5/27/14, Changsha: Yannick, Tan Dun, and Hainen, for whom Nu Shu was composed, acknowledge the rousing applause following the performance. Joining them onstage were several of the few remaining women who speak Nu Shu, and who were featured in the films that accompany the piece. The women also turned, faced the musicians and bowed, repeatedly saying xie xie (thank you). Nu Shu, which according to UNESCO is the only known gender-specific language, is passed on from mothers to daughters by singing, reading, and writing, and is on the verge of extinction. Photo by Jan Regan.

5/27/14, Changsha: The second half of the concert was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pathétique”). In yet another first for the Orchestra and its relationship with China, the ensemble was the first American orchestra to perform in Changsha. Photo by Jan Regan.

5/27/214, Changsha: Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner, Principal Oboe Richard Woodhams, and oboist Jonathan Blumenfeld perform the Tchaikovsky “Pathétique.” Photo by Jan Regan.

5/27/14, Changsha: Yannick asks the Orchestra to stand at the end of the triumphant performance to acknowledge the rousing applause. Photo by Jan Regan.

5/27/14, Changsha: Following the concert Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore presents the governor of Changsha with a gift from the Orchestra. Photo by Jan Regan.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns is traveling with the Orchestra on its 2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency. Read his latest dispatch from the road: http://bit.ly/1k1BpHo