During the spring semester of 2007 I first visited China, where I gave a series of concerts with my colleagues, Brandon Christensen and Jennifer Lim Judd. We also visited several universities, gave masterclasses, and had very productive exchanges with a number of Chinese music professors. All of our concerts in China were enthusiastically received; our Chinese hosts were unbelievably gracious, and extended invitations to us to return, and to bring our orchestra with us! This provided the genesis for the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra China Tour. We felt that this would be a perfect opportunity for our students to gain professional touring experience (such an important aspect of the life of a professional musician!), while gaining an appreciation for the communicative power and universality of music. At the same time, they would be able to experience the rich culture and warm appreciation for music that is so apparent in China.
After much preparation and follow up, which included submitting tapes, references, repertoire, and personnel information, the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra was accepted to perform as part of the 2009 American Celebration of Music in China. We will leave on Saturday, May 23, and return on Monday, June 1, performing four concerts in important venues in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou (a celebrated Chinese heritage site).
Here is our concert itinerary:
- May 23: Depart for Beijing, China
- May 24: Arrive in Beijing, China
- May 26: Outdoor concert on the Great Wall of China (weather permitting)
- May 27: Concert at the world-famous Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing; a shared concert with the China Youth Orchestra.
- May 28: Fly to Shanghai
- May 29: Rehearse with Shanghai Normal University Orchestra; collaborative concert with the Shanghai Normal University Orchestra at Shanghai Normal University.
- May 30: Concert at Zhedjiang Provincial University, Hangzhou, China
- June 1: Fly back to the United States.
Participants on the tour include approximately 30 Southeast Missouri State University orchestra students, along with about five community members and four faculty members. Several board members, parents, and patrons will also travel with the orchestra. It is a significant honor to be invited to perform in China, and an amazing opportunity for all of us to represent Southeast Missouri State University and this region in a series of concerts. We are all so excited about this upcoming trip, and want to thank the Department of Music, the College of Liberal Arts, the Southeast Missouri State University administration, the Southeast Missouri Symphony Board and Symphony Society, and all our patrons and benefactors who have helped make this dream a reality! And a special word of thanks to colleagues Brandon Christensen and Jennifer Lim Judd who have given so generously of their time and expertise throughout the entire planning process for this trip.