Chinese funerary music composer dies

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 15, 2015
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Luo Lang []

Luo Lang, the composer of an extremely famous piece of music played at nearly all Chinese funerals, died on July 12, 2015 at age 95.

Luo, a musician and conductor, was the very first leader of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Military Band. He also served as the band's conductor when it played the national anthem at the grand ceremony announcing the founding of the People's Republic of China in October 1949.

Luo, whose original name was Luo Nanchuan, was born on July 28, 1920 in Fujian Province. He later attended Lu Xun Academy of Arts to study music under the famous composer Xian Xinghai.

As one of principal figures in the development of China's military music, Luo composed, adapted and arranged many pieces of military and revolutionary music. "Mourning Music," Luo's most influential and best-known work, was adapted from a folk tune from northern China.

The music was first played in 1945 to mourn the military martyrs who died in battle at Zhangjiakou. It was also played at the cornerstone laying ceremony for the Monument to the People's Heroes at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, where the central government declared it the official national mourning music. "Mourning Music" was later played at the funerals of Chinese leaders such as Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou En'lai and Deng Xiaoping.

All through the decades, this score has been played at funerals for both officials and common people all over China.

Luo Lang said several years ago that the piece of music may be used by others for free. "I will not charge anyone for copyrights and licensing. The music is free to use. This is because I created this music with the goal of serving the people," he explained.

Luo's memorial service and funeral will be held on July 17, 2015. The music he created will surely give him a worthy send-off from this world.

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