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Ministry hosts symposium for reviving Taiwan music heritage
Ministry hosts symposium for reviving Taiwan music heritage

In preparation for the “Reconstruction of Taiwan Music History (重建臺灣音樂史)” project, the Ministry of Culture held a two-day symposium at the National Taiwan Theatre Center on Dec. 2 and 3.

The symposium invited over 30 scholars and professionals from fields such as historic musicology, ethnomusicology, world music, contemporary music, and archival science to present research papers regarding the current situation and future prospects of Taiwan’s music history.

A total of five issues – “General Theory and Literature Review of Taiwan Music History,” “Theory and Method of Traditional Taiwan Music History and Contemporary Music History,” “Construction of Music History Databases,” “Case Studies of Management of National Music History in Foreign Countries,” and “Historical Development of Traditional Music in Taiwan and Influence of Environmental Changes on Music Development” – were explored during the symposium.

Scholars presented research papers on how Indonesia, France, Germany, and the U.K. preserve and maintain their cultural assets and how these countries apply and promote the archiving of contemporary music, the establishment of audio databases, and the construction of modern music centers.

Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun shared the Ministry’s vision of Taiwan culture, noting that cultural development has to begin with deepening cultural roots by reconstructing the nation’s art and music history, and crafting a cultural identity for Taiwan on the world stage.

Minister Cheng recalled the moment when an Amis drinking song was performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and cited the Sunflower Music Society (向日葵樂會), which was formed by six prominent composers including Ma Shui-long (馬水龍) and Lai Deh-ho (賴德和), as another example of Taiwan’s international outreach through music.

She also expressed her respect for remarkable musicians who left indelible marks on the course of Taiwan music history, such as Jiang Wen-ye (江文也), the first Taiwanese composer to win an Olympic medal in 1936, as well as the pioneering researchers and collectors of Taiwanese indigenous music – Chang Fu-hsing (張福興), Hsu Tsang-houei (許常惠), Shih Wei-liang (史惟亮), and Hsu Shih (許石).

Minister Cheng stressed that the Ministry will help deepen Taiwan’s cultural roots through three stages of action, in which the first steps will be to collect and preserve historical documents and encourage academic research on Taiwan music history.

The second stage will explore the identity of Taiwan music from different vantages, including from the perspective of world history, and encourage universities to establish Taiwan art history research centers. Minister Cheng also pledged to upgrade the facilities and resources of the Taiwan Music Institute to provide Taiwan music with a better home. 

The third stage will promote the application of such history and gathered materials in contemporary society. Through interpretative performances, talent incubation, immersive experience tours and exhibitions, and other forms of interdisciplinary integration, the nation’s music history will be brought to the forefront of everyday life.

The Chinese-language research papers presented at the symposium are available for download at http://musichistorytw.com/downloads.html.


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