23 July 2012
Last updated at 08:58
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales have recently returned from their first tour of China, where they performed in five cities. Concerts televised on a local Beijing channel were watched by 6 million viewers, in addition to a radio, online and big screen audience of 1.2 million.
The orchestra – seen here at the Great Wall - performed as part of UK Now, which is the biggest ever festival of British arts in China. Usually based at BBC Hoddinott Hall in Wales Millennium Centre, the orchestra is one of the BBC’s six performing groups.
Around 41 freight boxes were used to transport the 277 individual items required by staff and musicians, including £2.5m worth of instruments.
Led by outgoing principal conductor Thierry Fischer, the 86-strong orchestra played pieces such as Ravel’s Bolero and concertos by Mozart. Before the tour, Fischer said: 'I have enjoyed my time immensely with the Orchestra over the past six years, and these concerts in China will be one of the highlights of my time with BBC NOW.'
The orchestra's 12-day tour of eastern China included concerts in the capital Beijing (pictured), Tianjin and Shanghai. They also played in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The Beijing performance will broadcast soon on Radio 3 and Radio Wales.
The orchestra rehearse at the Tianjin Concert Hall. BBC NOW regularly perform on Radio 3 and programme soundtracks such as Doctor Who, which is made by BBC Wales. This summer, the orchestra will play four BBC Proms concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The musicians also visited the Forbidden City in Beijing, where they experienced music of a different kind. Photos taken by orchestra members Chris Stock, Andy Farquharson and Tim Thorne.