The Philadelphia Orchestra’s current 2014 tour of Asia and Japan has been rough and tumble enough with moldering halls in remote Chinese capitals and residency activities amid challenging acoustics and blistering heat. Is that what drives some of them to jump off the top of the 700-foot Macau Tower? The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns reports what orchestra members are going to some extremes to get a break from night after night of concerts.

One of the better ideas of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s tour of China and Japan turned out to be one of the toughest concerts of all: a Saturday morning pop-up performance by a quartet of French horn players at the ancient ruins of St Paul's Cathedral in Macau. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns withstood the tropical heat right along with them.

Jan Regan

On its 2014 Residency of China & Tour of Asia, The Philadelphia Orchestra is going deeper into China than ever before, and not just to more remote cities. On the first week of the trip, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns followed the players into the “belly of the beast”- the People’s Liberation Army Band in Beijing, where orchestra members gave the master classes.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is going deeper into China than ever before, into the Hunan province where modern arts centers have only existed for a few years, and out of Macao's air-conditioned casinos for outdoor performing amid the ruins of a cathedral. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns will be there every step of the way.

There are few things as annoying as being stuck on a tarmac — in a cramped, packed plane — for long periods of time. But when you have some of the members of the Philadelphia Orchestra on your flight, it could turn magical.

No, seriously.

Jan Regan

In the title of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2013 China Tour and Residency, the word “residency” is as important as the word "tour." And this, as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns now reports from China, is bringing the musicians face-to-face with many who may never see the inside of a concert hall.

For the eighth time in its history, The Philadelphia Orchestra is performing in China. Like last year, the focus is on residencies where the Orchestra becomes part of the community playing impromptu concerts in public places, and having joint rehearsals and concerts with the local orchestras. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns is traveling with the Philadelphians and files this report.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has just wrapped up a 10-day visit to China, its seventh trip to the country over the past four decades.

But this trip was different.

The orchestra is preparing to come out of bankruptcy, and this tour was about its survival. It hopes to balance its books by building new audiences and new revenues in the world's second-largest economy.

The Philadelphia Orchestra Leaves for China

May 26, 2012

Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim and Principal Timpani Don Liuzzi speak with WRTI's Jim Cotter as the ensemble embarks on a new type of overseas excursion. While still featuring traditional concert performances in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, the Orchestra's 2012 Residency Week and Tour of China will place a greater emphasis on community engagement.

The Philadelphia Orchestra made history in 1973 as the first American orchestra to perform in China. This week, the Orchestra - led by Chief Conductor Charles Dutoit - is in Beijing for a residency in collaboration with China's National Center for Performing Arts. This marks the ensemble's fifth visit to China.

WRTI's Susan Lewis looks at how the Orchestra is engaging in activities beyond the concert hall, and expanding its relationships with the people of China.