Keeping the scores: China's classical history compiled

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The collection Symphonic Music in China 1949-2019 is jointly launched by Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Music Publishing House. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A new project will chronicle the history of Chinese symphonic music and compile rare scores and recordings into one special collection.

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Music Publishing House have jointly launched a new project documenting the development of symphonic music in China since 1949.

The project will result in the compilation of a collection called Symphonic Music in China 1949-2019.

What is commonly referred to as "classical music" has existed in China for no more than 90 years, as the first Chinese orchestra piece Nostalgia was composed by Huang Zi in 1929. "Since then, good compositions have emerged in all the historical periods of China," said Liu Lijuan, deputy director of SMPH, "but there has never been a systematic collection of Chinese symphonic compositions in chronological order."

"It's time we look back in history, and present China's symphonic compositions in an international perspective," says Fei Weiyao, director and editor-in-chief of SMPH. "The publication of Symphonic Music in China 1949-2019 will not only fill a void in this field, but will also help to establish the criteria of Chinese symphony music, and introduce it to the wider public."

A panel consisting of conductors, composers and music scholars from all over China will pick 70 symphonic works by Chinese composers, created during four time periods: 1949 to 1965, 1966 to 1976, 1977 to 1989, and 1990 to 2019.

"Impact is the primary criterion," says Sun Guozhong of Shanghai

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