The New York Times
By Michael Cooper
As the world focuses on the accord to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities that was reached last month, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, a major ensemble from one of the six nations that negotiated the deal, is planning to play two concerts in Tehran next week.
The Tehran concerts by the group, whose music director, Long Yu, enjoys a growing international reputation, have been scheduled for some time as part of a tour of the ancient Silk Road trade route, with stops planned in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Greece.
But coming a month after the accord was reached between Iran and the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China, the concerts are sure to be seen as a bit of cultural diplomacy at a moment when many nations are gearing up for more open relations with Iran.
One piece the orchestra plans to play in Tehran is Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony, “From the New World,” which was written in the United States and incorporates American folk music. They also plan to play the Polovtsian Dances from Borodin’s “Prince Igor”; “The Butterfly Lovers,” a violin concerto by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao; and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
“This tour across the Silk Road trade route has been years in the planning,” Mr. Yu said in a statement, “and we in the China Philharmonic Orchestra hope that we can build a cultural bridge that stretches across the region and indeed across the world, that will bring people closer together at a level that can inspire them to make this world truly harmonious.”
An American orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, considered playing concerts in Iran last year to mark the 50th anniversary of its last concerts there, but ultimately did not go.