Guardians of cultural diversity

Updated: 2012-11-01 17:57

By Mu Qian (China Daily)

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Guardians of cultural diversity

[Photo/China Daily]

Although there were many famous people among the nominees, Lin became one of four winners because with his hard work, the renewed performance at Qujiaying "enhances the social status of Chinese folk traditional music culture", and "a large number of elder artists have been protected and more than 100 young musicians have been trained", according to the jury.

Lin, who tried to attract people's attention to the Qujiaying Village Concert since the 1980s, says that he will spend the prize to train more young people to carry on the music tradition.

Taichi Traditional Music Award is an academy award jointly sponsored by the China Conservatory and Taichi Traditional Music Foundation, which raises funds through social and personal resources around the world. This award is granted to individuals or social groups all over the world that have made outstanding and original contributions toward the performance, inheritance, theoretical studies, or dissemination of traditional music.

"There are regional awards for traditional music in the United States and Europe, but I don't know any other international award for traditional music like the Taichi Award," says Anthony Seeger, distinguished professor emeritus of ethnomusicology at University of California in Los Angeles, who is a member of the award's jury.

"By setting up this award, China is contributing to the promotion and preservation of traditional music worldwide."

Shankar, the legendary Indian sitar player and composer most famous for his collaborative performance with the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin, won the award because "he has played a significant role in the promotion of Indian music, not only because he has introduced traditional Indian music to the rest of the world, but also because he is a pioneer in exchanging and blending musical culture internationally".

Pai, who produced the "youth version" of Kunqu Opera The Peony Pavilion, was awarded for combining "the classical Kunqu Opera with modern stage art to disseminate traditional art and national culture to modern audiences around the world".

Professor Nettl, who is one of the founders of ethnomusicology, won the Taichi Award because of his great achievement in the theoretical studies in ethnomusicology.

Although only Lin made it to the award ceremony, Shankar and Pai made their speeches through videos.

"This is my first award from China. I thank the Taichi Traditional Music Foundation and China Conservatory for giving me this honor," says Shankar, 92, in the video. "I'm so sorry that I can't come and receive this honor personally. I send all my best wishes in music, harmony and peace."

Pai, who is in the US, says in the video: "This is a very meaningful award for me, and I will carry on to revitalize Kunqu Opera and promote it in the 21st century world."

The Taichi Traditional Music Award, which is inaugurated this year, will be presented every two years. This year, there were 23 nominees from around the world. The jury, which consists of a group of Chinese and international experts in the field of traditional music, selected 12 finalists. Apart from the four winners, each of the other finalists received a prize of $10,000.

Other finalists include 89-year-old Wan Tongshu, who spent his whole life documenting and disseminating the Muqam music of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and American Routes, a national radio program of the US featuring traditional and vernacular musicians who express the history and diversity of American cultures through music.

"The winners of the Taichi Award are those who have done great work in the field of traditional music, but there are many others that we simply can't award this time," says Zhao Talimu, president of China Conservatory. "We hope to work closely with international colleagues in the future to guard the cultural diversity of the world."

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