CHIME Newsletter No.8

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CHIME Newsletter No.8, 6 May 2009

Newslettter of CHIME, European Foundation for Chinese Music Research




For the upcoming CHIME meeting on 'Chinese and East Asian Music: The Future of the Past', we look forward to a truly impressive programme, with over seventy presentations, many workshops, demonstrations and concerts. The meeting, co-organized and hosted by the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) in Brussels, is held as part of the 2009-2010 edition of the Belgian Europalia festival, a nationwide event devoted to Chinese music and culture. The theme focuses on issues of cultural policy, preservation, archiving, protection laws, scholarly research and reconstruction in the realm of music and musical instruments in China and East Asia. It coincludes discussion on music of the past as featured in reinvented traditions and new music.

Check our website ( for a preliminary conference programme and a preview of CHIME's music and theatre events: from shadow puppets to Chinese marionettes, from ritual village musicians to sexy zheng ensembles, from Peking opera to qin innovators, from Chinese jazz to traditional folk songs, from aged pipa and zheng masters to young zhongruan virtuosos, there will something to cater to everyone's taste.

For practical questions concerning the conference, you can contact the organizer, Claire Chantrenne, at or via postal mail: Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), 1 rue Villa Hermosa, B-1000, Brussels, Belgium. for more on Europalia, check the festival's website at (Best to do so in a few days, after the press conference has taken place!)

We will issue regular updates about the conference on the CHIME and MIM websites, including (expected in early June) a list of possibilities for hotel and youth hostel booking, and a pre-registration form. Given the size and scope of the Europalia Festival and the numbers of visitors expected, anyone interested in participating in CHIME is kindly urged to book accommodation in Brussels as early as possible!


A bit late perhaps, but still relevant to anyone interested: CRAL/EHESS organizes a conference in Paris on 15 and 16 May on music inspired and promoted by dictatorial state apparatuses: occasional commemorative or celebrative works, patriotic or militant hymns, military marches, etc. The focus is on many different realms, from interwar Europe to the Eastern bloc, from Maoist China to the Latin American dictatorships of the 60s and 70s. The organizers tentatively propose a collective name for music brought about by dictatorships ('state music'), and will try to address questions such as: are there any similarities or constants in music production (and in its accompanying promotional means such as folklore research institutions and prize competitions) across different dictatorships? What have been the discourses and practices implemented and how do listeners react to them? And: would it be possible to agree a set of stylistic features, or are they context-contingent? For information about this meeting, contact the organizers, Esteban Buch (, Igor Contreras (, or Manuel Deniz Silva (, or check the website of the Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage (CRAL), 96 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris, France,

S.E.A. Bamboo Music Festival, Malaysia, 6-9 June 2009

The 2009 edition of the International Bamboo Music Festival, will be held at the Genting International Convention Center, First World Hotel, in Malaysia from 6 to 9 June 2009, under the auspices of Lui Events. The aim of the festival is to promote bamboo music from East and Southeast Asia, notably from SEA countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Some five hundred bamboo music lovers and professionals from this region and from other parts of the world gather at the festival to share knowledge and to learn together via bamboo music and dance workshops and concerts. The main participants are school groups, professional and amateur musicians, and general public. For more info and registration:


Afficionados of theatre, and of Chinese theatre in particular, may wish to head for China in June 2009 for a series of interrelated events in Shanghai and Beijing.

From 7 to 12 June, the Fifth Shanghai International Experimental Theatre Festival will be held in Shanghai. Last year, following the first Asian-Pacific Regional Conference of Theatre School Directors, the UNESCO International Theatre Institute (ITI) established an Asian-Pacific Bureau of Theatre Schools. This Bureau will hold a Theatre School Expo in Shanghai, which coincides with the abovementioned theatre festival from 7 to 12 June, and which will move on to Beijing for a follow-up conference from 13 to 14 June. For non-theatre directors, it is possible to attend the performances, lectures and master classes. For more information, contact Professor William Huizhu Sun, at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, 630 Huashan Road, Shanghai 200040, China, Tel: 86-21-6248-3828, email

Immediately following this, from 15 to 16 June, the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts (Zhongguo Xiqu Xueyuan) in Beijing will host an International Conference titled 'Chinese Theatre and Performing Arts: Global Perspectives', which is jointly organized by the Academy and the American-based Study Association for Chinese Oral Literature CHINOPERL (which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year). The conference will be bi-lingual. The deadline for paper submission has passed, but it may still be possible to attend the conference as audience. For more information, contact Du Wenwei at

After this, diehard fans of Chinese theatre and afficionados of Kun opera may wish to return to Jiangsu for yet another meeting, which highlights kunqu (Kun opera) and story-singing, to be held from 18 to 21 June in Suzhou and adjacent cities (see for more information below).


The Centre for the Study of Chinese Kun Opera (Zhongguo Kunqu Yanjiu Zhongxin) organizes its 5th national symposium on kunqu and a series of kunqu theatre and pingtan (story-singing) performances from 18 to 21 June 2009 in Suzhou, Kunshan and Changshu (Jiangsu Province, China). The event is organized as a series of subsequent festivals which will include performances by all the (six and a half) remaining kunqu troupes in China, and it involves some travelling between the three main locations mentioned. The Study Centre in Suzhou will provide accommodation, meals and concert tickets to the participants for the duration of the meeting; participants are responsible for their own travel expenses to and from Suzhou.
 Proceedings of the conference will be published as Zhongguo kunqu luntan, to be edited by the Study Centre in Suzhou. The deadline for the submission of paper proposal has long passed (31 January), but people interested in participating can contact Dr Shao Wenyan or Dr Zheng Jinyan at, tel/fax: 86.512.65880503.


The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, a faculty of The University of Sydney, presents a symposium in April 2010 titled 'Preserving Tradition, Facing the Future in Asian musical and visual cultures'. This symposium will be organized with the support of the Australian Centre for Asian Art and Archaeology, Faculty of Arts of the University of Sydney. The initiators seek interested researchers and performers to attend and present at the symposium. Information on this event can be found at


The Music Department, School of Humanities, of the University of Hong Kong, invites papers for a conference to be held in Hong Kong next year: 'Constructing China's Nationhood:
Music and Transmission in East Asia' (23 to 25 APRIL 2010). Theme: Modern scholarship has argued that there is no such thing as a Chinese essence or a fixed Han ethnic identity. To say that Chinese identity is a construct, however, is not to say that it is not real; rather, its reality is defined within its socio-cultural moment. Against such a background, this symposium aims at locating the transmission of Chinese music within the larger framework of the global debate on identity formation, from both historical and contemporary perspectives. What kinds of role has music played in building China's nationhood? And how has Chinese music been received as the music of the Other by its neighbouring cultures? Potential reference points might include, but are by no means limited to, Hobsbawm's concept of the invention of tradition and Greenblatt's work on identity formation in pre-modern societies. Papers on historical Chinese, Sino-Japanese, Sino-Korean, and Sino-Indian sources are particularly welcome. 
Invited speakers include Robert Bagley (Princeton University), Joseph Lam (University of Michigan), Elizabeth Markham (University of Arkansas), Richard Widdess (University of London), and Rembrandt Wolpert (University of Arkansas). 
A historically-informed performance of the 12th-century Chinese poet-musician Jiang Kui's music will be featured on 24 April 2010. Speakers will be given 20 minutes for their presentations, which will be conducted in English. Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent by 1 September 2009 to Yang Yuanzheng at Each abstract should include its author's name, institutional affiliation, telephone number, and email address. The authors of selected papers will be notified via email by 2 November 2009. Overseas presenters will be offered free accommodation for three nights at Robert Black College on the University campus. Contact: Dr. Yang Yuanzheng, 
Department of Music
, The University of Hong Kong, 
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2241 5738 
Fax: +852 2858 4933


The Musicological Society of Japan will hold an International Forum for Young Musicologists from 14 to 17 May 2010 in Yokohama, Japan. The meeting will be held in English, and will be hosted by Keio University, Hiyoshi Campus in Yokohama (20 min. from the centre of Tokyo). It aims at promoting international exchange and communication on a personal level among young musicologists who will be active in the 21st century, and thereby secure a sound future for musicology. The meeting will invite (and provide travel grants for) young scholars from outside Japan, to give them an opportunity to get to know Japanese colleagues who otherwise have little chance to make personal contact with them. A further aim is to promote a global understanding of musicology in Asia.

The theme is to be created by those applicants who are interested in giving a paper in the Forum. They are requested to choose one or more from the following twelve key words: 1) Acculturation, 2) Conflict, 3) Discrimination, 4) Hegemony, 5) Languages, 6) Nation, 7) Politics, 8) Propaganda, 9) Religion, 10) Tradition, 11) Values, 12) War, and submit a theme proposal in 100 words as well as an individual paper proposal in 250 words with a title, according to the above aims of this Forum. A committee will

discuss the proposals and select about ten proposals from outside Japan and the same from within Japan. An official theme of the Forum will be then announced with the names of selected applicants and their proposals.

Musicologists of any age or nationality who will complete a doctoral dissertation in the near future, or who were awarded a Ph.D. within the past five years or so are eligible for applying. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 31 July, 2009. Proposals are to be sent by e-mail attachment, addressed to the chair of the committee, The selection result will be announced in September 2009, by e-mail and post. The selected musicologists from outside of Japan will be awarded ca. 100,000 yen for their travel expenses. All invited participants, especially from abroad, are expected to stay in the on-campus housing of Keio University, Hiyoshi Campus, at 4,200 yen for single occupancy, or 7,350 yen for double occupancy, per

night, without meals. For more info on this initiative, check the website of the Musicological Society of Japan:


Friends of Guqin or Amics del Guqin is a virtual space about the Chinese traditional seven-stringed zither guqin, which was set up by Joan M. Vigo and colleagues in Spain. Joan Vigo recently translated Fred Liberman's book 'A Chinese Zither Tutor' (UWPress 1983) into Spanish. Check the web at


Chinese pipa player Wu Man (based in America since 18 years) received two Grammy Award nominations for recent CD recordings. She was nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) with conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya for the recording of Lou Harrison’s Pipa Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concerto features on the Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of the Silk Road Chicago CD released on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s CSO Resound label. (Wu Man is a senior member of the Silk Road Ensemble founded by Yo-Yo Ma.) Her second Grammy Award nomination was for Best Small Ensemble Performance for the world premiere recording of Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto with conductor Yuri Bashmet on Onyx Classics.

Wu Man’s Grammy nominations follow her being made a 2008 United States Artists Broad Fellow in November last year, in recognition for introducing the pipa to Western audiences, musicians and composers. The USA Fellows program provides direct support for artists by annually awarding fifty unrestricted grants of $50,000 to artists of all disciplines from across the country.

Highlights of Wu Man’s 2008-09 season include international tours with the Silk Road Ensemble to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well as U.S. and European tours, but also the Canadian premiere of Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Peter Oundjian (March 2009), and an anniversary concert of Terry Riley's In C (written 45 years ago) with the Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall. Wu Man is also working on a documentary series about Chinese music that she has filmed on recent trips to China.


70 Million visitors are expected at the World Expo 2010, an international fair of Olympic dimensions – and with broad cultural, social and economic objectives – will be held in Shanghai next year. A five-square-kilometer area at the core of the city will serve as the Expo Park, and will be devoted to exhibitions, contemporary architecture, performance events and forums on the Expo theme, ‘Better City, Better Life.’ Numerous countries will present concerts and theatre performances in the framework of the expo; the Edinburgh Arts Festival, the Salzburg Music Festival and numerous other festivals will contribute programmes. Expect to hear many genres listed in the UN ‘World Intangible Cultural Heritage’ list during the Expo (or in the period leading up to it), from Japanese Noh to Mongolian folk song, from African tribal music to Kun opera and guqin. Details on dates and performers will be published on the Expo’s website in due course:

General information about CHIME

CHIME, European Foundation for Chinese Music Research

P.O. Box 11092, 2301 EB Leiden, The Netherlands

Visiting address Chime: Gerecht 1, 2311 TC Leiden

Tel 071-5133974 / 5133123 Fax: 071-5123183

E-mail: Website:

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