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Bard College and Soochow University in China Agree to Comprehensive Partnership, including the Creation of a Joint Music Program, Student Exchange, and the Bard College Liberal Arts Academy in Soochow University

Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA, and Soochow University in Suzhou, China, have agreed to a comprehensive partnership that will include a joint program between the Soochow University School of Music and The Bard College Conservatory of Music, an exploration leading to the creation of The Bard College Liberal Arts Academy in Soochow University, and a student exchange between Soochow University and Bard College.

As part of the agreement, students at the Soochow University School of Music may pursue a five-year, double-degree course of study similar to that offered by The Bard College Conservatory of Music and leading to two degrees: the Soochow University School of Music bachelor’s degree in music performance and the Bard College bachelor of arts degree in a field other than music. Students from Soochow University may study for a semester or more at Bard, but may also complete all requirements for the double degree program at Soochow University. As conceived, the Bard College Liberal Arts Academy in Soochow University—a four-year program of undergraduate study on the campus of Soochow University, modeled on Bard’s curriculum—would offer Soochow University students the opportunity to receive a bachelor’s degree from Soochow University and from Bard College.

“All of us at Bard College look forward with great enthusiasm to working with our colleagues at Soochow University to build a fruitful and long-lasting partnership,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “Learning from each other, we will create new structures that will benefit our students and serve as models of international cooperation and educational innovation.”

“We extend a warm and enthusiastic welcome for this educational collaboration between Soochow University and Bard College,” said Soochow University President Dr. Zhu Xiulin. “As Suzhou is known for its gardens and canals, these joint programs will sow the seeds for an international ‘garden’ that will cultivate new ideas, enrich the curriculum, and build bridges between people and cultures.”

Soochow University is one of the oldest universities in China and is situated in the ancient garden city of Suzhou, known as the “Venice of the East.” With a rich cultural history dating back 2,500 years, Suzhou is renowned for its classical-style gardens, many of which are noted as World Cultural and National Heritage sites. Founded in 1900 by Methodists, Soochow University now has 28 schools with 24,000 undergraduates, 13,000 graduate students, and 1,500 international students. There are two main campuses: the original one in downtown Suzhou and a new one, built in the Dushu Lake Higher Educational District. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and boasts schools of law, medicine, education, and business. As one of the premier universities in China, Soochow promotes international exchange, having established cooperative relationships with more than 100 universities and institutions in Japan, France, Korea, Singapore, Germany, the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Soochow University School of Music was established in 2012, initiated by President ZHU Xiulin's vision for creating an international performing arts school in Suzhou. With the appointment of cellist-conductor Dr. Hekun Wu as dean, the School of Music is committed to cultivating a new generation of musicians for the 21st century who will learn how to think and will seek to serve society through the arts. The School, which opens its doors in fall 2013, will offer a four-year bachelor's degree in music performance and music education and a master’s degree in music performance, music history, music theory, composition, piano pedagogy, collaborative piano, and music education. In addition, the School also offers programs leading to the professional studies certificate and the artist diploma. Following an international search, the artist-faculty will consist of outstanding performers, composers, and scholars, and will come to Suzhou from all corners of the globe, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, and Taiwan. With a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. ZHU Enyu, the School of Music makes its home in the heart of the Dushu Lake District. The state-of-the-art facility will consist of two concert halls (designed by acoustician, Yasuhisa Toyota), a comprehensive music library, studios, classrooms, and practice rooms. With its ideal location 90 kilometers northwest of Shanghai and within a dynamic university environment, the School of Music is poised to become a leading institution in performing creative arts, scholarship, and education in China.

Founded in 1860, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is an independent, nonsectarian, residential, coeducational college offering a four-year B.A. program in the liberal arts and sciences and a five-year B.A./B.S. degree in economics and finance. The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers a five-year program in which students pursue a dual degree—a B.Music and a B.A. in a field other than music—and offers an M.Music in vocal arts and in conducting. Bard also bestows an M.Music degree at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bard and its affiliated institutions also grant the following degrees: A.A. at Bard High School Early College, a public school with campuses in New York City (Manhattan and Queens) and Newark, New Jersey; A.A. and B.A. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and through the Bard Prison Initiative at five correctional institutions in New York State; M.A. in curatorial studies, and M.S. in environmental policy and in climate science and policy at the Annandale campus; M.F.A. and M.A.T. at multiple campuses; M.B.A. in sustainability in New York City; and M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan. Internationally, Bard confers dual B.A. degrees at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Russia (Smolny College), American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan, and Bard College Berlin: A Liberal Arts University; and dual B.A. and M.A.T. degrees at Al-Quds University in the West Bank. Bard offers nearly 50 academic programs in four divisions. Total enrollment for Bard College and its affiliates is approximately 3,900 students. The undergraduate college has an enrollment of more than 1,900 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. For more information about Bard College, visit

Recognized as one of the finest conservatories in the United States, The Bard College Conservatory of Music, founded in 2005, is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. All undergraduates complete two degrees over a five-year period, a bachelor of music and a bachelor of arts in a field other than music. For more information, visit


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This event was last updated on 12-13-2013