PHILADELPHIA, May 29, 2013 - Underscoring its commitment to the health and well-being of the people of China, the Cigna Foundation is the sponsor of The Philadelphia Orchestra's 40th Anniversary Tour of the People's Republic of China kicking off May 31 and running through June 9. This tour celebrates the Orchestra's anniversary of its first China tour in 1973 while signaling the future, as the tour runs concurrently with the Orchestra's innovative new residency program that will bring classical music to China's major cities and further into its provinces.
"We're proud to bring the Orchestra back to China as the 40th anniversary sponsor," said Jason Sadler, president of Cigna's Global Individual segment. "Our support pays tribute to The Philadelphia Orchestra's trailblazing role in fostering harmony in music and culture between China and the United States, and it reflects Cigna's longstanding service to China."
The tour, coupled with the first-of-its kind residency, is a full circle moment for The Philadelphia Orchestra. Paying homage to the relationships created by Maestro Eugene Ormandy and the Orchestra when visiting four decades ago, the events and programs planned during the 40th Anniversary Tour will highlight the ongoing commitment of The Philadelphia Orchestra to creating cultural bonds that drive further artistic innovation.
Cigna's history in China dates back to 1897, when INA, a Cigna predecessor company, became the first American company to write insurance in China. In 1994, Cigna opened an office in Beijing. In 2003, Cigna formed its joint venture in China with China Merchants Bank to sell individual health, life and accident products. In the years that followed, this successful operation - Cigna & CMC Life Insurance Co. - grew into a business that includes individual private medical plans and serves customers with one million policies across nine provinces.
Tour dates, cities and details for The Philadelphia Orchestra's 40th Anniversary Tour:
- Friday, May 31: Hangzhou, Hangzhou Grand Theatre
- Saturday, June 1: Shanghai, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center National Children's Day concert benefitting Soong Ching Ling - Pearl S. Buck Fund
- Wednesday, June 5: Tianjin, Tianjin Grand Theater Live LED simulcast for 10,000 citizens of Tianjin (Philadelphia's Sister City)
- Thursday, June 6: Beijing, National Center for the Performing Arts/"The Egg"- 40th Anniversary performance with The China National Symphony Orchestra
- Saturday, June 8: Macau, The Venetian Theatre
As part of its corporate responsibility commitment, Cigna will host a special program June 2 for middle-school students in Shanghai who have a passion for music. Students will be invited to a dress rehearsal where they can experience first-hand a world-class musical performance and interact with Philadelphia Orchestra members. For more information on planned events in China, contact Richard Zhou, Telephone: +86 755 8319 6209 ext. 6810 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 80 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
About Cigna & CMC
Cigna & CMC Life Insurance Co., Ltd. ("Cigna & CMC") was established by Cigna and a China Merchants Group affiliate in 2003. Founded in 1792, Cigna Corporation is one of the largest insurance companies in the US. As early as 1897, a Cigna predecessor company was the 1st American insurance company operating insurance business in China granted by the Qing Dynasty Government. China Merchants Group ("CMG"), founded in 1872, is one of the earliest enterprises in Chinese enterprise modernization process in recent China history. Cigna & CMC was awarded Best Foreign Life Insurance Company Award in China for two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009 by China Financial Times and The Institute of Finance and Banking of Chinese Academy of Social Science. Cigna & CMC topped in the overall competency ranking among all joint venture life insurers in China in the 2010 Asia Insurance Competency Ranking Research Report conducted by California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) and 21st Century Business Herald. For more information about Cigna & CMC, Pls. visit www.cigna-cmc.com.
The Philadelphia Orchestra and China
In 1973 The Philadelphia Orchestra, under Eugene Ormandy's direction, became the first American orchestra to perform in the People's Republic of China, at the special request of President Richard Nixon. The Orchestra returned to mainland China 20 years later, in 1993, again in 1996, and also in 2001, led by Wolfgang Sawallisch on each occasion. In 2008 Maestro Chistoph Eschenbach led the Philadelphians in a 35th Anniversary Concert commemorating its historic to China. Two years later, in 2010, Maestro Charles Dutoit and The Philadelphia Orchestra helped to open the World Expo in Shanghai.
Eight musicians who were on the 1973 trip remain in the Orchestra today: Violinists Herold Klein, Herbert Light, Booker Rowe, and Jerome Wigler; violist Renard Edwards; double bassist Michael Shahan (associate principal bass); harpist Margarita Montanaro (co-principal harp); and percussionist Anthony Orlando (associate principal percussion). The Philadelphia Orchestra has a long and distinguished touring history throughout the world and is one of the most-traveled American symphonic ensembles.
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Renowned for its distinctive sound, beloved for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of "firsts" in music-making, The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Christoph Eschenbach, and Charles Dutoit, who served as chief conductor from 2008 to 2012. With the 2012-13 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Named music director designate in 2010, Nézet-Séguin brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music into the vivid world of opera and choral music.
Philadelphia is home and the Orchestra nurtures an important relationship not only with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts but also those who enjoy the Orchestra's other area performances at the Mann Center, Penn's Landing, and other venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association also continues to own the Academy of Music-a National Historic Landmark-as it has since 1957.
Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, the Orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the United States. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China, in 1973 at the request of President Nixon, today The Philadelphia Orchestra boasts a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The Orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center while also enjoying a three-week residency in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
The ensemble maintains an important Philadelphia tradition of presenting educational programs for students of all ages. Today the Orchestra executes myriad of education and community partnership programs serving over 45,000 annually, including its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, and eZseatU.