The LSO is once again flying the flag for Britain on the world stage, when it embarks on a major concert tour to Korea, China and Vietnam in February and March.
With almost 100 orchestra members and a team of technical and support staff – not to mention Principal Guest Conductor Daniel Harding, soprano Christiane Karg, trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, violinist Nikolaj Znaider and composer Mark-Anthony Turnage – a tour of this scale is as complex as it is exciting. We are also delighted that The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley will be making an official visit to Korea and China at the same time as the Orchestra’s tour, and as the LSO’s International Ambassador he will be present at a number of the concerts.
This visit to the Far East will begin in Seoul, South Korea, where the LSO will launch the UK-Korea Year 2017-18 with a concert that includes Turnage’s work Håkan, written especially for the renowned trumpeter. From Seoul it is on to Beijing for two concerts at the spectacular glass and titanium National Centre for Performing Arts, often fondly referred to as 'The Egg'. Concerts will then follow in Shanghai, Wuhan and Macau, before the tour heads to Hanoi, for the first ever performance by a British orchestra in Vietnam.
The LSO first performed in China in 2004, and since then has returned regularly, performing across the country to large and enthusiastic audiences. To mark the Orchestra's return to China, the British Ambassador Dame Barbara Woodward is hosting a welcome reception on the eve of the concerts in Beijing at The Embassy Residence, where Leader Roman Simovic and Co-Leader Carmine Lauri will give a special performance for the invited guests.
In recent years Western classical music has gained immense popularity among Chinese audiences, including budding young musicians in China who have been captivated by global stars such as Lang Lang and Yuja Wang, both of whom perform frequently with the LSO. Managing Director Kathryn McDowell said, 'It is wonderful to be returning to China where the LSO has built such a good relationship with audiences over the past 13 years.'
The London Symphony Orchestra is deepening its ties with China and plans are underway for further concert tours there in 2018 and 2019. Tours of this scale can only succeed through the support of concert partners. From the very beginning of the LSO’s association with China, its tours have been made possible thanks to sponsors like Rolls Royce, HSBC and ICBC. The 2017 concerts are no exception, and the Orchestra is proud to be working in partnership with leading businesses this year.
The tour will be the first to China since the announcement last October that Reignwood, a global Chinese organisation that places great emphasis on building business, economic and cultural bridges between East and West, became a Principal Partner of the LSO. Mr Songhua Ni, President of Reignwood Group, said the company was pleased to work in partnership with the LSO as Tour Sponsor. 'By supporting this tour, we are honoured to play a role in deepening the relationship between China and the UK', Mr Ni said.
The concerts in Beijing on 22 February and in Shanghai on 25 February are also supported by China Taiping Insurance Group. The LSO first partnered with China Taiping in London in 2015 and their support in Beijing and Shanghai as Concert Sponsor marks a generous commitment to the LSO in China. China Taiping’s UK Managing Director Mr Jinhai Geng said, 'The London Symphony Orchestra's tour in China will see people being brought together from different backgrounds and cultures, through the power of music. As 2017 celebrates the 45th anniversary of ambassadorial level diplomatic relations between the UK and China, we are confident that this tour will firmly form part of the continuing multi-cultural exchanges between the two countries. On behalf of China Taiping, we wish this tour every success.'
In a recent interview Martin Cullingford, publisher of music magazine Gramophone, said there is a strong appetite in China for the standard-bearers of British orchestral music, and 'a commitment to building partnerships between different countries and cultures has arguably never been more important than it is today.'
Our concert partners are enabling the LSO’s ambition to make the greatest music available to the greatest number of people. Kathryn McDowell commented that 'our tour supporters share our belief in the importance of cultural exchange between countries, and their sponsorship directly enables the deepening of cultural ties that a tour on this scale promotes.'
2017 is a landmark year in the LSO’s history, with Sir Simon Rattle’s arrival as Music Director in the autumn, and this significant international tour to the Far East gets the year off to a great start.
For more information about how the LSO partners with businesses in key markets around the world, contact:
Nicholas Selman, Director of Development
+44 (0)20 7382 2515
The LSO is grateful to each organisation that has chosen to generously support the concerts as part of the tour to Korea, China and Vietnam. Their partnerships make possible the LSO’s work on the global stage.
China Tour Sponsor and LSO Principal Partner
Seoul: 20 February
Hanoi: 4 March