CHINESE SYMPHONY musicians will perform for the first time in the United States next month in a 40-day tour by the Central Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra, China's most prestigious, will give 26 concerts in 24 cities, including New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The 100-member orchestra will arrive in the United States tomorrow. The group will be led during the tour by conductor Chen Zuohuang. THE TONKUNSTLER ORCHESTRA OF VIENNA opens a four-part series called ``Pops at Carnegie Hall'' in New York on Thursday. The orchestra is led by Alfred Eschwe. Other programs in the series are scheduled for early next year. THE MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY opens a three-week season at New York's City Center on Oct. 6 with an evening featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov in Miss Graham's ``Appalachian Spring'' and Maya Plisetskaya in Ruth St. Denis's ``The Incense,'' among other works. The following week will include the world premi`ere of Miss Graham's 177th ballet, set to Stravinsky's ``Symphony in C.'' THE BAM MAJESTIC THEATER opens Oct. 13 with ``The Mahabharata,'' the nine-hour epic based on an ancient Sanskrit poem. Brooklyn's old Majestic Theater has been renovated, with the financial aid of New York City, and renamed to reflect its connection with the Brooklyn Academy of Music. ``The Mahabharata'' will run the full length of BAM's Next Wave Festival - through Jan. 3. THE WORCESTER ART MUSEUM has begun charging admission, after a period of letting visitors browse for free. The museum in central Massachusetts said the policy is in line with that of most urban museums. It cited a tripling of the operating budget over the last 10 years as one factor in the decision. Some people will still get in free: members, visitors under 18, and all visitors on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

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