The Philadelphia Orchestra has signed an agreement with Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts to start a cultural exchange programme. The partnership aims to help find and nurture the next generation of Chinese orchestral musicians.

Other plans involve performances by the orchestra in Beijing and other Chinese cities, and commissioning a Chinese composer to create a new work for the orchestra to perform at the end of the programme's first year.

The Philadelphia Orchestra, which in 1973 became the first American symphony orchestra to tour China, will embark on the cultural exchange programme next May.

The announcement comes just a month after the New York Philharmonic signed an agreement with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra to collaborate on developing an orchestral training institute in Shanghai.