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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Forty years after it became the first U.S. orchestra to visit China, the Philadelphia Orchestra is planning to go back with a new tour and new program.

The orchestra on Wednesday announced plans for a summer tour and outreach program that will visit Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing and Macao between May 29 and June 10.

In addition to performances the orchestra plans a grassroots exchange with young Chinese musicians.

Donald Runnicles will conduct seven performances during the tour. Under legendary conductor Eugene Ormandy the orchestra visited China in 1973 as part of a historic thaw in relations between the two countries.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary musicians from the China National Symphony Orchestra and musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra will come together for a celebratory performance at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on June 6.

The Philadelphia Orchestra said it "looks toward a rich future in China" defined by a commitment to serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States.

The tour is part of a rebuilding project that began after the orchestra stunned music lovers in 2011 by becoming the first major U.S. orchestra to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The world-renowned 112-year-old orchestra had struggled with dwindling attendance and donations, shrinking endowment income, the recession and an aging audience.

The orchestra emerged from bankruptcy last year.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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