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Office of International Students Room 1507, International Students’ Apartment Central Conservatory of Music No.43, Baojia Street, Xicheng District, Beiijng, China, 100031
Orchestral Instruments Department
The Orchestral Instruments Department of Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) is not only a discipline integrating the research, teaching and performance of orchestral instruments but also the most important teaching sector of music performance in CCOM.
The former directors of the Orchestral Instruments Department were Prof. Zhang Hongdao, Prof. Huang Feili, Prof. Zhang Yan, Prof. Huang Yuanli, Prof. Sui Keqiang, Prof. Tao Chunxiao, Prof. Zhu Tongde, Prof. Bo Lin and Prof. Liu Peiyan. The present director is Prof. Zhao Ruilin and the deputy directors are Prof. Yu Mingqing and Prof. Tong Weidong.
With the arduous exploration and continuous improvement by generations of educators during the past 75 years since the establishment of CCOM, the Orchestral Instruments Department has formed a complete teaching system in discipline construction and achieved great success in the discipline of music performance.
From the perspectives of teaching staff, major settings, curriculum structure, academic research and talent development, the Orchestral Instruments Department has always been in the vanguard of the discipline construction and development of nationwide orchestral instruments teaching, and is an important base for orchestral instruments teaching and research. In 1981, the Orchestral Instruments Department of CCOM was among the first batch approved by the State Council Academic Degrees Committee to grant Master degree for Musical Art Performance in China; in 1986, the student orchestra of the Department was named China Youth Symphony Orchestra by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China; in 2008, the Department was designated as the only national level orchestra teaching demonstration center for undergraduates by the Ministry of Education. The Orchestral Instruments Department is equipped with 10 teaching and research sections (respectively for violin, viola, cello and harp, double bass, woodwind, brass, Western percussion, chamber music, ensembles, and piano) as well as one art center (for classic guitar).
Currently, the Orchestral Instruments Department has 61 professional teachers, including 51 in-service teachers and 10 foreign teachers, among which 28 are professors, 17 are associate professors, 10 are lecturers and 6 are assistants; meanwhile, there are 2 secretaries and 2 counselors as well.
During the past 75 years, over 200 teachers have taught in the Orchestral Instruments Department of CCOM and undertaken instrumental performance teaching, greatly contributing to the decades of remarkable teaching achievements of the Department. After several major teaching reforms, the major setting for undergraduates has become complete, which is the same as that in European and American conservatories. When formulating the medium and long-term teaching plan in 2006, the Department put forward the teaching object of “developing elites of solo and ensemble performances” to change the previous model of merely developing talents of solo performance into the current one of developing talents of both solo and ensemble performances.
Over the past 75 years, the Orchestral Instruments Department has achieved tremendous teaching success that greatly impresses its counterparts both at home and abroad. For instance, many professors, led by the world-renowned violinist Mr. Lin Yaoji, work hard and develop a great number of world-class performers who have won hundreds of big prizes. The numerous prize winners and performers in chief positions of world’s leading symphony orchestras all show their performance talents well. These achievements cannot be separated from generations of professors’ hard work, and the high teaching quality is guaranteed by the competent teaching staff as well as abundant talents, who have established and maintained the rigorous teaching system of CCOM. For years, CCOM has attracted a lot of world-famous educators, performers, conductors and composers to visit, lecture and seek for inspirations, which is attributed to the Department’s solid academic tradition, teaching model of passing on experience, positive teaching and research atmosphere, maintenance of superb performance states, research of teaching patterns, important measures of developing elites of solo and ensemble performances as well as fine teaching traditions.
The Orchestral Instruments Department has experienced several major teaching reforms over the decades, but most of the significant ones are carried out in the past 30 years. After decades of gradual teaching reforms, the major setting for undergraduates of the Department has become complete, which is of the same scale as that of European and American conservatories; the undergraduate enrolment rate of the Department is reasonable, and since 2005, about 100 undergraduates have been enrolled each year. The students are distributed as follows: Violin (24 students), Viola (12 students), Cello (12 students), Double Bass (8 students), Flute (4 students), Oboe (4 students), Clarinet (4 students), Bassoon (4 students), Saxophone (1-2 students), Horn (4 students), Trumpet (4 students), Trombone (4 students), Tuba (2 students), Western Percussion (4 students), Harp (2 students), Guitar (2-4 students) and Master students (totally 23 students for all majors).
The curriculum of the Orchestral Instruments Department is divided into performance major courses, major required courses, major elective courses and common courses, including Philosophy, Political Economy, Political Theory, History of Chinese Ancient Music, History of Western Music, History of String Instrument, History of European Wind Instrument, Chamber Music Ensemble, Ensemble, Harmony, Analysis of Musical Form, Baroque Music, Chorus Art, Conducting, Score Reading, Chinese Opera, Chinese Folk Music, Solfeggio, Musical Theory, Piano, Music Appreciation, Dancing and so on. Since the establishment of Chamber Music courses, Chamber Music Ensemble has progressively become the combination of string quartet, woodwind quintet and brass quintet; in the mid-1990s, this kind of combination has been fixed as a major required course with its own credit.
Ensemble has been set up in CCOM since the 1950s, but it hasn’t been a required major course with its own credit until the mid-1990s.
The curriculum illustrated is beneficial to the development of Performance Major students as well as the Orchestral Instruments Department in producing performance talents with exquisite skills, qualified performance and artistic morals.
Except the major required theoretical courses and elective courses, major courses are given in the form of one Major Course teacher for one student, two teachers one Major Course teacher and one Piano instructor) for one student, one Chamber Music instructor for less than 15 Ensemble Music students, and one Ensemble Music instructor for over 100 students in symphony classes. When formulating the medium and long-term teaching plan in the academic year 2006-2007, the Orchestral Instruments Department analyzed in depth the domestic and international development and needs of musical performance talents in the past 1 or 2 decades, put forward the teaching object of “developing elites of solo and ensemble performances” to change the previous model of merely developing talents of solo performance into the current one of developing talents of both solo and ensemble performances. The overall teaching plan for developing excellent performance talents enables the Department to continue the down-to-earth teaching spirit of professors of older generations, and further give full play to the dual advantages of young and middle-aged teachers’ performance and teaching, thus laying a solid foundation for enhancing teaching ideas, developing performance talents as well as catching up with European and American conservatories.
CCOM as a pool of talents has attracted a lot of prestigious educators, performers and cantors across the world to visit and lecture here. They come to figure out why CCOM, especially its Orchestral Instruments Department, is able to deliver so many excellent performing and educational talents to the major orchestras and conservatories worldwide. It owes to, in terms of teacher management, the Department’s mentoring mechanism to enhance teachers’ qualification, its introduction of evaluation system for teaching performance, its regular and democratic recommendation system of qualified teachers as the heads of teaching and research sections, and its improvement of the teaching and research atmosphere which extends the traditional education style while maintaining the remarkable performance standards. Meanwhile, the Department’s achievements would not have been possible but for its down-to-earth academic pursuits. It earnestly digs into the performance and teaching law, crucial measures to develop elites of solo and ensemble performances for the world, and a prudent and fine traditional teaching and learning atmosphere.
For several decades, the Orchestral Instruments Department has been equipped with a strong team of excellent teachers.
Experienced performers and educators who have taught music for a long time still stand fast at the forefront to cultivate outstanding undergraduates and graduates, including Prof. Wang Zhenshan, Liu Yuxi, and Liu Peiyan of violin teaching group; Prof. Zhu Tongde and Wang Yongxin of flute teaching group; Prof. Bai Yu and Zhu Dun of oboe teaching group; Prof. Tao Chunxiao of clarinet teaching group; Prof. Bo Lin of trumpet teaching group; Prof. Hu Bingyu of trombone teaching group; Prof. Liu Guangsi of percussion teaching group; Prof. Chen Zhi of guitar teaching group; as well as artistic instructors Prof. Wang Yaoling and Shang Chengsong of piano group.
The young and middle-aged key educators and performers well-known at home and abroad also inject vigor and new blood to the faculty, including Prof. Xue Wei, Chai Liang, Tong Weidong, Liang Danan, Lin Zhaoyang, Zhang Ti, Yu Bing, Xie Nan, XuWeiling, and Chen Yun (chamber music) of violin teaching group; Prof. He Rong, Su Zhen and Wang Changhai of viola teaching group; Prof. Yu Mingqing, Zhu Yibing and Ma Wen of cello teaching group; Prof. Chen Ziping of double bass teaching group; Prof. Han Guoliang of flute teaching group; Prof. Wei Weidong of oboe teaching group; Prof. Fan Lei of clarinet teaching group; Prof. Li Lansong of bassoon teaching group; first-class performer Zhang Chengxin of French horn teaching group; Prof. Dai Zhonghui of trumpet teaching group; Prof. Zhao Ruilin of trombone teaching group; Prof. Li Biao of percussion teaching group; Prof. Jin Huiping of harp teaching group; artistic instructor Prof. Han Yaping of piano teaching group; Associate Professor Tan Liwei of violin teaching group; Associate Professor Sun Xiaoqi, Lu Xin (chamber music) of cello teaching group; Associate Professor ShenDongwen of double bass teaching group; Associate Professor Deng Meng of flute teaching group; Associate Professor Fang Hengjian of oboe teaching group; Associate Professor Yuan Yuan and Wang Tao of clarinet teaching group; Associate Professor Chen Guangfu of trumpet teaching group; Associate Professor Liu Yang of trombone teaching group; Associate Professor Liu Gang and Zhang Jingli of percussion teaching group; Associate Professor Wang Guan of harp teaching group; artistic instructor Associate Professor Huang Mengmeng, Wang Junyue and Cao Hui of piano teaching group; Associate Professor Shi Jiajia (chamber music) of piano teaching group; Associate Professor Liu Lan of history of string instruments teaching group; Lecturer Cao Hai and Qi Wang (chamber music); Lecturer Yang Tong of saxophone teaching group; Lecturer Man Yi of French horn teaching group; Lecturer Li Jie and XuTuo of guitar teaching group; artistic instructors Lecturer Yuan Ding, Fan Jun, HouMomeng, GuoYuanshuai, Lu Jingyi, Wu Qiong, Ma Xiaoou, Yin Yijia, Hong Qian, Zhang Jiao, Tang Xiaoliang, and He Nan, and Lecture Li Le (chamber music) of piano teaching group; as well as staff XieHaoming, Chen Xi, He Chang (chamber music) and Su Yaqian (chamber music) of violin teaching group.
The faculty of the Department has received numerous awards on national level, including National Outstanding Teaching Achievements Award of Higher Education, Beijing Outstanding Teacher Award, and Baosteel Education Award. Nine out of ten members of the faculty have overseas exchange experience and play a leading role in diverse fields of music in China. More than ten members undertake senior positions of a couple of professional associations and institutions such as the Committee of Art Education of MOE, Chinese Musicians Association including its Wind Orchestra Society, Violin Society, Viola Society, Cello Society, China French Horn Association, China Trumpet Guild, China Trombone Guild, Oboe Society, Bassoon Society, Chamber Music Society and so on. The establishment of most of these institutions was advocated by the teachers of the Orchestral Instruments Department. A number of professors also serve as the emeritus, honorary, guest or part-time professors in various domestic conservatories, the principal performers in several major orchestras in China, and the judges of all kinds of competitions and art festivals at home and abroad. Such faculty, best in China, has linked up the Orchestral Instruments Department of CCOM with those of the prestigious Western music conservatories.
The faculty consists of four categories:
1. performers and educators of solo performance;
2. performers and educators of ensemble performance;
3. instructors specialized for chamber music;
4. artistic instructors for piano performance.
The four types are incorporated into a teaching scheme in a reasonable manner, so that students of all majors can benefit from the scheme and achieve all-round development in performance. The combination of the ten teaching and research sections and the art center has provided a platform to cultivate and deliver world-class talents.
In terms of its teaching model, the Department employs a mechanism in which excellent and exceptional solo performers are selected and given abundant time for practice so as to unleash their musical talents, improve their skills and equip them for major music contests at home and abroad. The other students, however, must attend the chamber music course and ensemble course. By implementing and reforming the curriculum plan of orchestra, we have established strict assessment procedures and a symphony orchestra (rigorous selection tests are held in the second week of the first semester of each academic year). In this way, students can learn comprehensive knowledge about orchestra and finally satisfy the social demands for professional instrument performers. In 2009, our conservatory unveiled its new teaching complex building, which has provided our department with a superb rehearsal hall admired by conservatories at home and abroad for talent cultivation.
The department covers a wide range of professional musical instruments, including five musical instrument sections (strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, and keyboard) and 15 categories of musical instruments (violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba and percussion instruments). These categories are subdivided into more than 40 kinds of featured musical instruments specialized for every major (baroque string instruments, piccolo, alto flute, bass flute, baroque oboe, coranglais, piccolo clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, double bassoon, natural horn, wagner tuba, baroque trumpet, piccolo trumpet, trumpet of various keys, flugehorn, soprano trombone, baroque trombone, alto trombone, bass trombone, contrabass trombone, bass trumpet, Euphonium, tuba of various keys, Ophicleide and various percussion instruments). Several decades ago, the musical instruments taught by professional teachers in our department were confined to the 15 categories of instruments with few featured instruments. However, in order to provide training of more classified musical instruments, carry out modern teaching ideas and develop elites of solo and ensemble performance, our department has, through years of education reforms, added diverse featured instruments still absent in many domestic orchestras and conservatories.
China Youth Symphony Orchestra of CCOM, named by Ministry of Culture, is the only youth symphony orchestra prefixed by “China”. It tours both home and abroad every year, playing a leading role among the domestic conservatories at the same level.
For decades, the orchestra has visited dozens of countries across Europe, America and Asia, and presented more than one hundred performing tours, winning the praise of international media and the honors for our country. Among all the youth symphony orchestras in China, it has the most frequent cooperation with world-famous conductors (including Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Charles Dutoit, Daniel Barenboim, LorinMaazel, Valery Gergiev, Tang Muhai, Shao En, Chen Zuohuang, Yu Feng, LvJia, Li Xincao, Zhang Xuan, etc.), performers (including Mstislav Rostropovich, MischaMaisky, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Sabine Meyer, Lang Lang, Li Yundi, etc.) and composers (including Krzysztof Penderecki, Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff, Tan Dun, Ye Xiaogang, GuoWenjing, Chen Yi, etc.). Moreover, it is the first symphony orchestra of China that visited ten countries of European Community, attended the world-class Beethovenfest in Bonn, Germany as a resident orchestra, participated in Young Euro Classics in Berlin, spent one month in touring around Taiwan, presented at invitation a concert in Indonesia, and sent six student brass performers to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Since the implementation of “Development Program for Elites of Solo and Ensemble Performance”, teachers in our department have attached significant importance to exchanges and visits with peers both at home and abroad and pursued further study regularly. Furthermore, world-class performers’ lectures and “Master Class” have benefited our students so that they can become excellent performers as soon as possible.
Under the new educational conditions of music performance majors at home and abroad, by maintaining its traditional teaching model while nourishing its characteristic learning spirit, the Orchestra Instruments Department will achieve greater success in developing elites of solo and ensemble performance.