Quartet Gives ‘Pop-Up’ Concert on Airplane Sitting on Tarmac

Above: Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra give a spontaneous performance of the finale of Dvorak’s “American” quartet on an airplane waiting on a Beijing tarmac.

The last time the Philadelphia Orchestra toured China, Richard Nixon had recently returned from his historic visit there, and cell phones, flash mobs and the Internet weren’t even in the ether, much less a routine part of life.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s current tour of China, 40 years after its first, is a whole new ball game in the age of airplane baggage surcharges, long waits on the tarmac and YouTube. In addition to the group’s schedule of formal concerts there, a quartet of the orchestra’s string players gave an impromptu performance of the finale movement of Antonin Dvorak’s “American” quartet while stranded for three hours on an airplane waiting to fly from Beijing to Macao.

Now that’s in-flight, or more precisely in-wait, entertainment!

Read more:

  • Philadelphia Orchestra Tours China, 40 Years Later (NYT)