Chamber music melds East with West
Establishment of new center in Shanghai called ‘a milestone’ in music history
The Shanghai Conservatory of Music hopes to explore new possibilities for Chinese music with the establishment of the International Chamber Music Center.
The center was inaugurated on Sept 22 by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and the European Chamber Music Academy.
According to Ulrike Sych, rector of the Vienna group, the successful establishment of the new center in Shanghai “will be a milestone in music history” and “bring new possibilities of chamber music”, when Asian and European styles can be combined to make a new impact on the global music scene.
The ceremony also marked the Shanghai Conservatory’s becoming an official member of the Euorpean academy, a leading international institution of chamber music.
Lin Zaiyong, head of the conservatory, hopes the founding of the chamber music center would bring together outstanding talent and educational and cultural resources to inherit and develop chamber music.
“Chamber music has been part of traditional Chinese music for more than 1,000 years. A wide variety of collaboration has formed for different instruments, and large repertoires have built up,” Lin says.
“The music practice has been different from Europe, but in the core and pursuit of musicality we share common values. We hope the center will bring new experiences with chamber music, develop new ways of collaboration between Chinese and Western instruments and hopefully bring out new works with Chinese aesthetics.”
Next year, when the center is operating regularly, the plan is to host international chamber music events, he adds. “We hope to launch an international festival of chamber music on the campus” in Shanghai, he says.
The new center marks the establishment of a long-term partnership between the three organizations, says Johannes Meissl, artistic director of the European group and president of the senate at the Vienna academy.
He recognizes there are differences in approaches and cultural traditions in the chamber music of China and Europe, yet Lin’s values and concepts on chamber music were universal. “Chamber music is in permanent development, and we will share what we can do,” Meissl says.
Since its founding in 2004, the European group has fostered more than 150 international-award winning ensembles. The association of music universities, conservatories and festivals in the field of chamber music had eight members — with Shanghai being the ninth — playing active roles in many leading chamber music events and competitions worldwide, Meissl says.
The Shanghai group has been a pioneer in China’s exploration of chamber music since 1960. Over the decades a number of chamber groups have emerged within the group, going on to win international recognition, such as the Shanghai Quartet, consisting of four undergraduate students, since 1983.
Shanghai Conservatory of Music celebrates with a chamber concert the inauguration of the SCOM International Chamber Music Center on Sept 22.