The BSO's Asian tour

March 11, 1994

A year ago, when Maestro David Zinman renewed his contract as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's music director, one big factor in his decision to remain in Baltimore was a pledge by the orchestra's management to put more emphasis on touring, recording and broadcasts.

The BSO had evolved over the previous decade into one of the finest regional ensembles in the country. But because it couldn't tour, relatively few music lovers outside Baltimore knew how good it really was.

That's why the orchestra's announcement last month that it will spend three weeks this fall touring East Asia represents an exciting new phase of the orchestra's development. The trip will encompass a 12-city tour during the course of which the orchestra will give 16 performances in Japan and Taiwan. East Asia is one of the largest markets for classical music in the world, so the orchestra's success there will greatly enhance the fine reputation it already enjoys among musicians in the United States and Europe.

Touring serves a number of important functions for an aspiring world-class ensemble like the BSO. It serves as a springboard for recording contracts, which in turn lead to additional touring opportunities. Tours and recordings enhance the orchestra's ability to attract top-flight instrumentalists, both as orchestra members and as guest soloists. And the musical excellence that results from first-class players and soloists translates into increased public support and effective fund-raising.

The BSO's fall tour also will pave the way for economic boons to Maryland and the Baltimore region. Both Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will accompany the orchestra for part of their sojourn. "While the BSO is calling attention to Maryland's cultural attributes, we will be meeting with government and business leaders to promote trade and investment opportunities," Mr. Schaefer said. "The BSO's tour of Japan opens a window of opportunity for Maryland, and we intend to make the most of it."

It is not stretching the truth to suggest that this kind of synergy, in which success in one area leads to success in many, is precisely why the prospect of the BSO's re-emergence as a touring orchestra is so exciting. The orchestra is one of this city's most effective cultural ambassadors, serving to bring the best of Baltimore to people around the world. We look for great things from these gifted virtuosos in coming years.

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