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Award-winning documentary about the Philadelphia Orchestra's China legacy; 'Beethoven in Beijing' set to be livestreamed / Bucks County Courier Times

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"Beethoven in Beijing," an award-winning documentary about the Philadelphia Orchestra's China legacy created by Jennifer Lin, of Doylestown, will be streamed in a special free screening Wednesday to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven's birthday.

The virtual event, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., is hosted by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, History Making Productions, and more than 40 cultural and civic partners from across the region. More than 2,600 people have signed up to streaming.

"Music connects us, and this is just as important today as it was a half-century ago," says Lin, a former China correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Beethoven in Beijing" vividly recounts the Philadelphia Orchestra's breakthrough 1973 tour of China - the first American orchestra to visit the People's Republic - and reveals the astounding resurgence of classical music there today. "We are excited to make this dynamic story and important Philadelphia cultural history available to all," says Sam Katz, the film's producer and founder of History Making Productions.

The film, which was co-directed by Lin and Sharon Mullally, features the stories of charismatic personalities, including conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, pianist Lang Lang and Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun. Attendance is limited and free tickets can be reserved at www.ludwig250.com. The event will include a performance of a short Beethoven gem by the Philadelphia Orchestra before a screening of the documentary and Q&A with filmmakers.

"Beethoven in Beijing," funded in part through a grant from the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) and Pennsylvania Film Tax Credits, was a finalist in the prestigious 2020 Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for film. Orchestra President Matías Tarnopolsky will welcome guests together with the dean of the Wharton School, Erika James; conductor Nézet-Séguin; and NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede.

Screened at film festivals nationwide, "Beethoven in Beijing," won an honorable mention for best local film at the Philadelphia Film Festival and best historical documentary at the San Antonio Film Festival. 

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