When a group from the Philadelphia Orchestra found itself delayed on the tarmac for three hours waiting for their flight from Beijing to Macao as part of the 2013 Residency & Fortieth Anniversary Tour of China, a quartet of musicians decided to provide a "pop up" performance for the passengers. They played a selection from Dvorak’s “American” string quartet to the delight of the weary (and smartphone-wielding) passengers.
The orchestra is in the midst of a two-week tour of China, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of a trip they made in 1973, as a cultural delegation shortly after President Nixon's trip to China. “In the time that I’ve been in the orchestra it’s definitely grown into a very friendly atmosphere between the managements, the governments and the individual musicians,” Davyd Booth, a violinist and one of the nine members traveling on the current tour who participated in the 1973 performance, told the New York Times. “I don’t think that’s happened anywhere else in the world to the extent that it’s happened here.”
The orchestra's tour also coincides with Chinese President Xi Jinping's trip to California for a summit with President Obama.
This wasn't the first time an orchestra performed a 'pop-up' style concert at an airport. See the video below, courtesy of British Airways, of the Sussex Symphony Orchestra delighting the audience at Heathrow Terminal 5 with a surprise performance:
Related on MNN: Why does music give some of us the chills?