A Chinese arts delegation is visiting four major U.S. arts centers this fall: New York; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; and Greensboro. Yes, Greensboro.

Greensboro’s inclusion on that short list evolved from a visit by UNCG representatives who flew to China in April to build a relationship with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPACC). A CPACC delegation of 26 Chinese dignitaries visits UNCG Thursday, Nov. 1 – Saturday, Nov. 3.

“CPACC was trying to find ways to approach the cultural arts, and one thing they want to learn is how to be more entrepreneurial in promoting the arts,” says Penelope Pynes, UNCG’s associate provost for international programs. “We told them that if they came here, we would put together a program for them. We want to showcase our best and brightest faculty.”

Pynes’ office, the International Programs Center, coordinated the exchanges.

At UNCG, the Chinese visitors will enjoy two concerts, both free and open to the public, as well as a daylong symposium on entrepreneurship in the arts.

A welcome concert begins at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, in the Music Building Recital Hall. This concert will feature classical and jazz pieces, along with works by John Williams and Chinese composers.

A dance concert choreographed by Duane Cyrus, UNCG dance professor, begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Dance Theater inside the Health and Human Performance Building. The program features excerpts from Cyrus’ “Middle Passage” and a performance of his “Coco Tries New Things.”

A diverse group of faculty are taking part in the symposium, designed specifically for the Chinese delegates: Bryan Toney, director of the N.C. Entrepreneurship Center; Billy Lee, art professor and sculptor; Steve Haines, music professor and jazz musician; and Rachel Briley, director of the UNCG-based North Carolina Theatre for Young People.

John Salmon, a pianist and professor in the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance, went on the April trip and is organizing the welcome concert. Salmon has made four concert tours of China, performing in Shanghai, Hangzou, Ningbo Wenzhou and Shenyang.

“I am always amazed at the warmth and receptivity of Chinese audiences, not only to my performances of Western classical music like Bach and Chopin but also to jazz!” Salmon says. “I will never forget the reaction of the audience in Shenyang, when my jazz quintet played there — we were mobbed with fans afterward.  Now I know what it feels like to be Justin Bieber.”

Salmon says the Chinese visit “represents an important constituency of political and economic leaders, who have the power to establish significant artistic ties with United States artists. I visited the CPACC headquarters in Beijing last April, a magnificent site at the compound of the former Italian embassy.  I was impressed by their warm welcome to us and interest in American culture. I am honored that they are visiting our campus.”