US-China Music Institute
The US-China Music Institute launched in 2017 as a program of the Bard College Conservatory of Music. The mission of the Institute is to promote the study, performance, and appreciation of music from contemporary China, and to support musical exchange between the United States and China. The Institute is led by Jindong Cai, an internationally renowned conductor and advocate of music from across Asia. A Beijing native, he came to Bard after many years at Stanford University.
In partnership with Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, the Institute has created the Chinese Music Development Initiative, which consists of several components: a degree program for Chinese instruments; an annual Chinese music festival; a series of scholarly conferences; and a summer academy for high school–age students.
Beginning this fall, the Conservatory’s five-year, double-degree program includes a major in select Chinese instruments—erhu, guzheng, and pipa (other instruments will be added in future years)—with studio instruction by members of the Central Conservatory of Music faculty. The summer academy, held for two-and-a-half weeks in August, entails orchestra rehearsals and concerts, individual lessons, English classes, sectional rehearsals, master classes, seminars, and weekend field trips to tourist destinations. The inaugural music festival will be held this fall at Bard and in New York City, and will feature performances by The Orchestra Now, various ensembles, preconcert lectures, and panel discussions. In March 2018, the Conservatory hosted an international symposium, “Harmony and Power: The Role of Music in the Cultivation of the Literati in Ancient China,” which brought together scholars from around the world to approach the subject from the perspectives of musicology, history, literature, art history, and philosophy.