LONDON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has begun an intensive period of cultural bridge-building with China aimed at promoting East-West ties and mutual understanding.
LSO has completed its sixth China tour.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, LSO managing director Kathryn McDowell said "we are really building the connections between East and West."
The orchestra, whose London home is at the Barbican Concert Hall in the City of London, first toured China in 2004, a special honor for the orchestra because it was also the centenary year of the LSO, said McDowell.
"We have been going every two or three years since. We have been building our relationships and profile," said McDowell.
There were following tours in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2014, but this year's tour marks an increase in the intensity of engagement.
"We are looking to be in China every year for the next few years. It is about stepping up the commitment. This is the first of our annual tours for the next three years through to 2019," she said.
McDowell has been at her role as managing director of the LSO since 2005, and it was under her stewardship that the orchestra began to step up its China focus.
She said she has seen a positive change in the British-Chinese cultural relations.
The enhancement of cultural ties between the two nations has come at the same time as a growth in the number of concert halls in China, and a related growth in interest in Western classical music.
The LSO played in the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the Shanghai Symphony Hall, and in Wuhan.
"Chinese audiences have changed very much. There are new concert halls in so many places," said McDowell.
She praised the relatively new Qintai concert hall in Wuhan, one in which the LSO was the first foreign orchestra to play.
"It is very exciting to be in at the point where new audiences are being developed and where a whole interest in orchestral music is building. We are looking for the future ways in which we can help that grow and develop," she said.
McDowell said the touring program of two different but well-respected pieces from the Western tradition -- Rachmaninov's 2nd Symphony and Mahler's 4th -- were chosen because of their appeal for an audience keen for the best of the Western classical music tradition.