The Philadelphia Orchestra has returned to China for a tour that marks the 50th anniversary of its historic 1973 visit, reflecting improving relations between the U.S. and China in anticipation of a meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. The orchestra’s original visit in 1973 played a role in thawing U.S.-China relations, coinciding with the normalization of ties after President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China.

The ensemble, including 73-year-old violinist Davyd Booth, who was part of the original visit, is set to perform with the China National Symphony Orchestra at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The tour will also take them to Tianjin, Suzhou, and Shanghai, where they will hold master classes and perform chamber music at various cultural venues.

This cultural exchange aligns with the American Ballet Theatre’s tour in China, signaling a positive trend in U.S.-China relations after a period of strained ties due to the pandemic and geopolitical issues. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s visit underscores the renewed interest in fostering cultural and diplomatic connections between the two nations.