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NSO Americas Tour 2012

Beginning June 12, 2012, the National Symphony Orchestra embarks on its first international concert tour under the leadership of Music Director Christoph Eschenbach. The "Americas Tour" will open in Mexico City, and will include concerts in four other countries: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Buenos Aires and Rosario, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; and three concerts in Brazil, two of which will take place in São Paulo and one in Rio de Janeiro.

"I am very pleased to be making my first international tour with my wonderful orchestra," said Christoph Eschenbach. "Part of my goal for the National Symphony is to bring this great orchestra to wider recognition. It is especially pleasing that this tour visits a part of the world that occupies a very important place in the NSO's history, as it does in mine. One of my very earliest tours as a pianist included many of the same countries we will visit, and to this day I remember the warmth and welcome of the audiences. I'm sure that our concerts will be enjoyed by our audiences, and will contribute to greater international artistic friendship."

The two-week tour is made possible by two generous sponsors: The Dow Chemical Company and Whirlpool Corporation.

"The NSO's touring history began in South America a little over 50 years ago, so it seems especially appropriate that our first tour with Maestro Eschenbach will take us to several of the countries we visited then. We are deeply appreciative of the support of our two sponsors," said Executive Director Rita Shapiro. "In addition, we look forward to exploring opportunities for our musicians to interact with local students and musicians."

"After the resounding success of the Asia Tour, Dow is pleased to continue our partnership with the NSO for the Americas Tour," states Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company. "It is an honor to collaborate with Whirlpool to bring one of the great national treasures of the United States-the National Symphony Orchestra-to our employees, customers and other community members throughout this region."

Whirlpool Corporation Chairman and CEO, Jeff Fettig remarks: "For a century, Whirlpool Corporation has been improving lives with our world class products and services. Our company has been doing business in Latin America since 1957 and it is an honor to assist in sponsoring the NSO tour to highlight the strong cultural ties between the people of these two parts of the world."

The repertoire for the tour includes Blue Blazes, a new work by American composer Sean Shepherd, commissioned by the NSO made possible by the John and June Hechinger Commissioning Fund for New Orchestral Works. The NSO will also perform two symphonies from the standard repertoire: Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5. The Roman Carnival Overture of Berlioz will also be performed, as will the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, and Lalo's Cello Concerto.

Claudio Bohórquez, the soloist in the Cello Concerto, is of Peruvian and Uruguayan descent. Highlights of his current season have included concerts with the Frankfurter Oper- und Museumsorchester, Dresden Philharmonic, and Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

While on tour, members of the NSO have been invited to give master classes in Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil. Additionally, Maestro Eschenbach will work with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Philharmonic. More specific information will be available closer to the tour.

Before the NSO travels to Mexico City, the Orchestra will devote its final two subscription concerts of the season to preparation of the tour repertoire. Concerts May 31, June 1 and 2 will include Shepherd's Blue Blazes, the Strauss Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. June 7-9, the program will include the Overture, Roman Carnival, Lalo's Cello Concerto, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.

City by City:

Mexico City

The tour will open in Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes. In addition to the concert, through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, the NSO will provide musicians for master classes at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes.

Port of Spain

The NSO's performance in Port of Spain commemorates the 50th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Maestro Eschenbach will work with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Philharmonic, and NSO members have been invited to give master classes at the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

Buenos Aires and Rosario

The NSO's performance in Buenos Aires will take place in the legendary Teatro Colón, considered one of the finest performance venues in the world. The NSO will also perform in Rosario, Argentina's second largest city, at Teatro El Círculo.

Montevideo

The NSO's performance will take place in Montevideo's Auditorio Nacional del Sodre, the city's leading venue for the performing arts.

Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo

The National Symphony will give two performances in São Paulo and another in Rio de Janeiro. While there, members of the NSO have been invited to present master classes and to perform outreach in Rio de Janeiro.

NSO Touring: Notes on a Half-Century of Travel

The NSO's touring history includes many significant milestones. The first international tour was in 1959. It was indeed a mammoth undertaking. Twelve weeks, 15,000 miles, and 68 concerts in 19 Latin and South American countries, undertaken as part of President Eisenhower's Program for Cultural Presentations, a project of the U. S. State Department, for the purpose of building goodwill throughout the region.

Other highlights of NSO touring include two trips to China; the more recent tour took place in 2009, at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture in 2009, marking first the 30th anniversary of Sino-U.S. relations. The previous tour to China was in 1999, led by the NSO's fifth music director, Leonard Slatkin, who also led the NSO in U.S. and European tours.

With Mstislav Rostropovich, in addition to tours of Europe, Asia, and South America, the NSO made two visits to Russia, and in the course of the 1993 tour, gave the first orchestral concert ever performed in Red Square.