China National Symphony Orchestra

China National Symphony Orchestra
(Zhongguo guojia jiaoxiang yuetuan)
The China National Symphony Orchestra’s predecessor, the Central Philharmonic Orchestra (Zhongyang jiaoxiang yuetuan), played a major role in the cultural life of post-1949 China until the 1980s, when other Beijing and regional orchestras rivalled its pre-eminence. The Central Philharmonic Society of China was founded in 1956 in Beijing, when the Orchestra and the chorus were to serve the role of national and international cultural ambassadors. New Chinese orchestral works were specifically written for and by members of the Central Philharmonic Orchestra to incorporate Chinese elements into a Western idiom. Such works have remained popular among Chinese audiences, and have been recorded extensively.
For example, the symphonic poem Lady Martial (Mu Guiying, 1959) was written by four musicians of the Central Philharmonic Orchestra, proclaimed as the first symphonic composition derived from tunes from Beijing opera and incorporating Chinese instruments. Similarly, during the Cultural Revolution, the Yellow River Piano Concerto was composed by committee.
Renamed and restructured as the China National Symphony Orchestra in 2000, the Orchestra continues its tradition in national and international performing and recording. Between 2000 and 2002, a succession of internationally established Chinese conductors, including Chen Zuohuang and Tang Muhai, have served as its music director. The Orchestra has also hired professional musicians from abroad to strengthen certain instrumental sections. Apart from its regular orchestral season, the China National Symphony Orchestra has specialized in recording orchestral soundtracks for many of China’s ‘Fifth Generation’ filmmakers, among them Chen Kaige (see Fifth Generation (film directors)) The composer Zhao Jiping also has a longstanding working relationship with the Orchestra.
China People’s University
(Zhongguo renmin daxue)
Among China’s top-notch universities, the People’s University is known for its close affiliation with the Communist Party and government. The name of the university well indicates this political connection. The university traces its origins to the Shanbei College founded in Yan’an in 1937 and some other revolutionary universities and colleges created by the Chinese Communist Party in northern China before 1949. The school was officially founded in the western suburbs of Beijing in 1950, and it is said to be the first formal university created by the newly proclaimed People’s Republic. Two senior Communist revolutionaries, Cheng Fangwu and Wu Yuzhang, served as its first and second presidents, respectively.
In the 1950s, the university led the nation in importing curriculum from the Soviet Union. Its graduates have been favoured by the Party and government, and many of them have become high- and middle-ranking Party or government officials.
The curriculum of the university, which emphasizes the social sciences, humanities and political education, reflects its special relationship with the Party. The university is well known for its programmes in the history of the Chinese Communist Party, Marxist philosophy and theory, history of the Qing dynasty, and so forth. In 1977, the then paramount Party leader Deng Xiaoping reiterated the mission of the university as training specialists in finance and economic management, and Marxist theory. Since then, the university has developed its strength in economics and management, legal studies and other areas. The university does not offer programmes in the natural sciences, which helps keep its size relatively small.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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