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Hailing birth of Chinese art songs

By ZHANG KUN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-27 08:56
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Liao Changyong, head of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, displays a manuscript of a 1920s Chinese art song from the school's collection. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Shanghai Conservatory of Music will launch a series of events to celebrate the centennial anniversary of art song creation in China.

A collection of 16 Chinese art songs, with ancient Chinese poetry as lyrics, will be published this year by the Breitkopf & Hartel Press in Germany, the oldest music publisher in the world, according to the school. The music scores, published alongside recordings of standard Chinese pronunciation of the lyrics, will help musicians in other countries to perform and enjoy Chinese art songs, the school said.

The Shanghai Conservatory of Music hosted the first international competition of Chinese art song performances in 2018. The second installment of the biennale event was scheduled to take place this year but has been postponed to next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vocal artists from all over the world will be able to sign up for the competition and submit videos of their performances online during the upcoming summer vacation.

Musicians in China added Chinese lyrics to existing melodies from the West when Western music was first introduced to China in the early 1900s. What was recognized as the first original art song of China, The River Runs East, was composed in 1920, by Liao Shangguo. Since then a large number of high-quality art songs have been composed, combining Western composition techniques with Chinese music vocabulary and emotions.

"These beautiful creations have supported the soil of Chinese culture and enriched it at the same time," said Liao Changyong, head of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

"It is our job to introduce the brilliant pearls of Chinese art songs to the global music scene."

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