NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Before 350 distinguished guests from around the world, including first ladies, heads of state, ambassadors to the United Nations, UN officials, and leading entrepreneurs, Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducted an ensemble of the Orchestra’s musicians in the U.S. premiere of "Ode to Humanity" on the occasion of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The Orchestra’s legacy as global cultural ambassadors and its shared advocacy through music of the United Nations core values led to its invitation to perform at the invitation of the Global Sustainable Development Foundation, a new foundation focused on supporting the mission of the UN.
The historic Sept. 22 performance in the United Nations Delegates Dining Room was hosted by pianist Lang Lang and included choristers from the Philadelphia Singers. Wang Ning’s "Ode to Humanity," arranged by Ke-Chia Chen in collaboration with the Shenzhen International Culture Exchange Association, was specifically selected as a tribute to the United Nation’s commitment to promoting social progress, better living standards, and human rights.
In introducing the U.S. debut of "Ode to Humanity," Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore, said, "The Philadelphia Orchestra has shared music’s unique ability to transcend cultural boundaries and touch people wherever they may live. You are about to hear a piece that embodies that universal language and that is the next step for the Orchestra in our commitment to fostering shared, cross-cultural understanding and to creating people-to-people connections.
"The ‘Ode to Humanity’ expresses themes of tolerance, peace, understanding, and joy across countries and cultures. These concepts are so well aligned with the principles of the United Nations and the mission of the Global Sustainable Development Foundation, that we offer ‘Ode to Humanity’ as a honored tribute to the work you do on a daily basis."
The UN performance follows the Orchestra’s recently completed 2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency and honors 35 years of official relations between the United States and China. The Orchestra helped inaugurate the diplomatic relationship between the two countries in 1973 when it became the first American orchestra to perform in China, at the request of President Nixon.
The 2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency was Nezet-Seguin’s inaugural tour with the Orchestra and included a side-by-side rehearsal of "Ode to Humanity" with members of the Shenzhen Symphony and The Philadelphia Orchestra.