Philly Orchestra Plays Pop-Up Concert on Chinese Airplane

By Dan Stamm
|  Friday, Jun 7, 2013  |  Updated 10:24 AM PDT
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How do some world-class musicians pass time while stuck on the tarmac? By playing classical music. That's how a quartet of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians passed time recently during the orchestra's tour of China.

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra

How do some world-class musicians pass time while stuck on the tarmac? By playing classical music. That's how a quartet of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians passed time recently during the orchestra's tour of China.

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What does a world-class orchestra do while stuck in a plane and on the tarmac for hours?

Play classical music, of course.

Stuck for three hours waiting for their flight from Beijing to Macao to depart, some of the musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra took out their instruments and played a pop-up performance of Antonin Dvorak’s String Quartet “American” Movement Finale right in the middle of the plane – the cellist Yumi Kendall resting her instrument right in the aisle as violinists Juliette King and Daniel Han and violist Che-Hung Chen stand up in their seats.

The Orchestra, which is touring China in commemoration of its historic 1973 visit, posted amazing video of the performance to its YouTube page.

The video begins with passengers gathering as announcements are made in both English and Chinese that the group is about to perform. The strings then take over as at least a dozen interested onlookers are seen taking photos and video with their cell phones.

Even on planes it seems that ringing phones can’t be escaped. At the 1:56 mark of the video you can see people smiling after a phone rings on the plane. But the orchestra played on to the amusement of fellow passengers.

At the end of the performance the whole plane erupts in applause as the musicians smile.

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