In less than 24 hours, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra embarks on a 10-day tour of China and Taiwan, with Music Director Manfred Honeck. This trip is the first time the PSO will perform internationally with Honeck – he has led the Orchestra in two tour concerts domestically, however. The first was in 2005 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. The second was just this past week, with the PSO and Honeck performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (Click here for the review)
The PSO's long history of international touring began in 1947 with a trip to Mexico under then music director, Fritz Reiner. Since then, the PSO has made seven trips to the Far East, 32 to Europe, and two to South America. Highlights include a 1964 State Department tour, which lasted three months, and included stops in Tehran, Iran and Beirut, Lebanon, among others. Amazingly, there are only two continents where the PSO has not performed, Antarctica and Africa.
On this tour, the PSO will perform two concerts in Beijing, China (both at "The Egg"), one concert in Shanghai, China (at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center), and a final concert in Kaohsiung, Taiwan held at the Main Stadium, built for the 2009 World Games which begin in July.
On to Beijing!