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:
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