Dashan has been called “the most famous foreigner in China”, where he has worked as performer and cultural ambassador for over 25 years. Born and raised in Canada, Rowswell began studying Chinese in the mid 1980s, first at the University of Toronto and later at Beijing University. While in Beijing, he became interested in xiangsheng, a traditional form of comedic dialogue. A chance opportunity to appear on television suddenly gave Rowswell national exposure under the stage name “Dashan”. Repeated appearances on television programs with audiences in the hundreds of millions gradually turned “Dashan” into a household name across China, and his media career expanded from comedy to dramatic acting to hosting cultural, diplomatic, educational and commercial programs & live events. In recent years Dashan has returned to his comedic roots with a ground-breaking solo show “Dashan Live”, introducing Western stand-up to Chinese audiences. Today Dashan is seen as a prominent symbol of finding common ground between cultures. Dashan has been inducted into the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour. He served as Canada’s Commissioner General to Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In 2012, the Canadian Prime Minister named Dashan as Canada’s “Goodwill Ambassador to China”. Each year Dashan hosts the “Chinese New Year Gala” performance of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, performing narrations in both English and Mandarin Chinese. This is his first performance with the New York Philharmonic.