Next month, the Philadelphia Orchestra will be in China for an unprecedented cultural exchange that should strengthen its global reach.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has toured China many times, most notably a 1973 visit after President Nixon established diplomatic ties with the Communist country.

What makes this 10-day visit different is that it's more than a concert tour. The orchestra will be interacting directly with Chinese musicians for master classes, open rehearsals, and cultural exchange programs.

From May 28 to June 6, the orchestra will use the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing as its home base, taking excursions to Macau, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

"The response of that very different culture to the music of these musicians is heartwarming," said orchestra board chair Richard Worley. "This is a chance to perform for this eager audience, and to branch much further out of major cities to engage with master classes and outreach to children of China."

This trip is a pilot effort to launch an ongoing, five-year partnership with China, arranged through China's National Centre for the Performing Arts and the U.S. Department of State, with help from Drexel University.