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Did anyone know that China’s national orchestra is on a US tour?

The US media get all hot on free flights when US orchestras go to China, but take no notice at all when the China National Symphony Orchestra comes to the US.

It’s the biggest tour the CNSO has ever undertaken – 30 concerts in seven weeks * – but most venues are small towns, starting with Anniston, Alabama.

Here’s why, more or less, between the lines (especially the last one). One suspects that CAMI advised them to build from the ground upwards.



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  1. 30 concerts in a month! I did 49 concert is 10 weeks on a CAMI DPO tour in 2009 ! :) Just saying ! :):):)

  2. I’ve seen posters all over the Upper West Side… maybe not in your Google cache, but someone’s getting the word out the old-fashioned way.

  3. another orchestra musician says:

    The CAMI tours I participated in, years ago, were marketed mostly through local concert societies that sold tickets in subscription packages. Like the current CNSO tour, they prioritized smaller communities, while including a smattering of more prestigious venues. There was very little in the way of visible advertising; the performances nonetheless were well attended. I think they were a valuable service, and I am glad to see that CAMI continues to organize such tours.

  4. I didn’t, just like I didn’t know that the wonderful Warsaw Philharmonic was on tour in the US recently – and they also played in Worcester, just 1h from Boston where I live – until after the tour was over…
    I had wondered why they hadn’t advertised the concerts more and why they didn’t bring the orchestra to places such as Boston where I would think there is a larger potential target audience. Just like the CNSO, they played mostly in smaller towns. I guess the post by another orchestra musician just above mine answers part of the question, but I still wonder why they didn’t stop by larger cities as well.

  5. Brian Hughes says:

    I noticed (with glee) that the orchestra is not afraid to play the music of its native land. If only ensembles from the USA would do the same.

    • Some do. On our upcoming concert tour in Ireland this spring, the Brown University Orchestra is performing music by five American composers: Michael Abels, Leonard Bernstein, William Perry, Samuel Barber, and George Gershwin.

  6. The link says the tour is seven weeks, not a month. I did wonder about 30 concerts in 30 days – thats very brutal. 30 in 49 days is a bit more humane.

  7. “The US media get all hot on free flights when US orchestras go to China”

    The flights aren’t free, Norman. The newspapers have to pay for the airline tickets for their journalists.

  8. Oftentimes these CAMI tours are underpaid (for the musicians, I’m sure somebody is making money off it), the orchestras are mislabeled (when my orchestra did a CAMI tour, they purposely mistranslated the name of our orchestra to make it seem more prestigious than it really is. Also if you do a google search, you can find an article about a recent CAMI tour of the “Dublin Philharmonic” or some such entity that doesn’t really exist. It was a touring gig band made up of mostly Eastern European freelancers).

    Our tour was long hours on buses, sometimes the only food stops were at Walmarts along the way to buy terrible sandwiches or whatever you could stomach. I am not looking forward our next CAMI tour, which they say is in the works.

  9. symphonylover says:

    I saw this orchestra play in my town of Charlotte, NC (which I would say isn’t a small city!…700,000+) It was obvious to me that I was wasn’t listening to a world class orchestra , but I must say it was an exciting show, and the orchestra really put out for the conductor. They also played the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, a piece that is one of my all time favorites, regardless of which orchestra happens to be playing it. The audience was quite enthusiastic as well.

    There were at least 3 American (brass) musicians and one Chinese guy who plays in an American orchestra playing in the group. I took some of them out for a beer after the show, and really enjoyed my time with them.

  10. I heard this orchestra in Daytona Beach FL jan 27th. A great performance in the Peabody auditorium to a large crowd. Did the Rachmaninoff Symp No 2 as well as two Chinese pieces. Happily, Daytona Beach stages cultural performances besides Bike week and the 500. It is good that a major orchestra comes to smaller towns. We used to sponsor the London Syphony in the past.

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