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Asia-Pacific Music Summit expected to build regional ties

2014-04-02 15:50:29


There were 11 leaders of major music schools from the Asia-Pacific region meeting in Sydney this week at the 2014 Asia Pacific Music Summit, an inaugural event, April 2-5, to produce closer ties between the various music conservatories and make the region a greater force in music education and culture elsewhere in the world.

Hosts of the forum, at the Sydney Opera House, and the brains behind it were the University of Sydney’s (Australia) music conservatory and Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, with the 11 music school heads representing the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Singapore, Japan, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

There was also a group of 35 students from Beijing, Shanghai, Melbourne and Sydney conservatories taking part and giving an orchestra recital as a finale at the Sydney Music Conservatory, on Saturday, April 5.

The conservatory’s dean, Karl Kramer, called the proceedings “a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with peers from the region’s top conservatories and discuss music education and performance”.

Kramer went on to say, “While we all follow the western music tradition in teaching, each institution is exclusive in how it operates and we are 11 unique case studies, each with its own expertise and the summit is a good starting point for forming stronger connections to encourage greater, more regular dialogue across the region.”

The summit comes at a time when countries such as China are experiencing a boom in classical music interest and where audiences are generally much younger than those in the US and Europe. In commenting on this, the Beijing Central Music Conservatory’s head, Wang Cizhao, said, “The purpose of the summit is to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between conservatories so resources of the Asia-Pacific region can be integrated and we can work together to promote international music education.”

Wang added, “The exchanges will become an important part of the conservatories with music education developing across all countries and this summit allows delegates to air their views on various problems, while each conservatory has its own cultural background and traditions and they can certainly complement each another in teaching.”

The four-day forum gave leaders a chance to discuss courses and programs, student exchanges, various forms of cooperation, and performance platforms, with some notable figures, such as the Australia Council for the Arts’ Tony Grybowski, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Rory Jeffes, the Sydney Opera House’s Louise Herron, University of Sydney’s Dr Michael Spence, and media executive and composer Kim Williams, all on hand to share their vision for the performing arts.

The final recital included two works composed by summit delegates Prof Barry Conyngham, from Melbourne, and Prof Xu Shuya, from Shanghai.

Even though these sorts of relations between institutions across the region have existed for some time, the Sydney summit was the first gathering of deans and presidents who formed the Asia-Pacific Music Institution Association (AAMI), just this year, as an annual Event.

Members of the AAMI and delegates to the Asia-Pacific Music Summit, April 2- 5, 2014

- Dr Karl Kramer, dean, Sydney Conservatory of Music

- Prof Wang Cizhao, president, Beijing Central Conservatory of Music

- Prof Xu Shuya, president, Shanghai Conservatory of Music