In Deep Memory of Prof. Lin Yaoji
On the morning of Monday March 16, shortly after my breakfast, I got a telephone call from Central Conservatory President Wang Cizhao, whose unusual voice suddenly upset me. I felt that something must have gone wrong. My suspicion was proved. He said with slight sobs, “I have just been to Prof. Lin Yaojis home and he died early this morning…” He told me in brief what had happened. “How come?” I never expected that what he told me was about the bad news of Prof. Lin, but then I could utter no more words. When President Wang said that he would go to his office, I said “ I will call his wife Hu Shixi immediately.” It took quite a long time to get through to her probably because there were too many calls to her at the time. I could feel her sorrow on the phone and I just said a few words to express my and my familys condolence to her on the death of Prof. Lin.
Hanging up the phone, I sat down on the chair, and was totally speechless. It was so sudden! As I live far from the conservatory, I could not get there very soon, but then I was wondering if his body would be transferred to the Baobaoshan Cemetery in a short while. My mind was in a terrible mess.
Lin and I had been schoolmates and more importantly, we had worked together as colleagues in the conservatory for the past fifty years. Apart from that, there was something unique between us. When I was living in the conservatory dormitory at Baojia Street about ten years ago, Lin had been my neighbour for many years as his apartment was just two stories lower than mine, in the same building. So every time I came home, I would pass his door. At that time, the conservatory was short of classrooms and practice rooms but Prof. Lin had so many students. So very often they had to come to his home for his lesson. When it was too hot in the summer and also the small space in the room caused some acoustic problems, sometimes he would have to open his door, so as to make his class a real “open class”. It is under such circumstances that Prof. Lin had brought up, with his extraordinary teaching methods and great care for his students, a few dozen internationally renowned violinists such as Hu Kun, Xue Wei, Chai Liang, Guo Chang, Li Chuanyun and Lu Wei, who won many prizes, including over ten gold prizes in national and international violin competitions. Prof. Lin and his students have won unprecedented reputation for China, and have also promoted the development of violin performing art in the country. Certainly, other teachers in the conservatory have also made their own contribution respectively as the teaching condition and teachers living condition have constantly been improved. I clearly remember that when I was acting as the conservatorys president in the 1980s, the violin major in the Orchestra Department had been the shining big star of the school, with highly frequent national and international competition participation and exchanges, which even attracted such great world violin maestros as Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern who visit our school for several times just because they were interested in those young but truly talented violin students that we had. Very often Prof. Lin and I exchanged views over these matters by going upstairs or downstairs, and together with the teachers and students we shared the great joy of constantly made achievements and progress.
During that period I was also member of the Party Group of the Ministry of Culture, in charge of national and international music and dance competitions. In 1983, Chinese contestants made overwhelming results at the Mehuhin International Violin Competition. Among the 12 prizewinners in both the youth and junior categories, half of them were from China, and all in top ranks! Such unprecedented result made a real sensation in the British press. Later, Sir Yehudi Menuhin proposed to China that there should be international violin competitions for the youth in China. Finally, with his great help and support, and partly as result of the role I played in the Ministry of Culture, the first ever International Music Competition was organized in China with Sir Yehudi Menuhin as Artistic Advisor. Prof. Lin was at the time jury member in many major international competitions, and his teaching achievements won such high appraisal both at home and abroad that he was praised as “great violin educator”. Due to his powerful influence and support, the first China International Violin Competition turned out to be a great success.
The Modern and Contemporary Chinese
Music History Research in the 30 Years Since the Beginning of Reforms and Opening Up
The 30 years of modern and contemporary Chinese music history research since the beginning of the reforms and opening up can be best summarized in the following three aspects:
First of all, the modern and contemporary Chinese music history research in the 30 years since the reforms and opening up is characterized by the highly open-minded views, original perspectives and various research methods of the historians, who deal with music works and incidents in the history of modern and contemporary Chinese music as well as various music phenomena and issues in specific historical backgrounds and specific contexts in a realistic, objective and dialectical outlook while getting rid of the extreme leftism, and made remarkable achievements.
Secondly, the research in the field features active but not radical academic thoughts, academic exchanges and dialogues with equality and mutual respect, and diversified approached to probe issues. The researchers could find things in common through disputes, and could not only contend with and criticize each other, but also complement and learn from each other. The discipline of modern and contemporary Chinese music history has been established with considerably rich experience in training Ph.D., masters and bachelors in this major.
Thirdly, the research in the field sees fruitful academic achievements including higher academic standards, extended scope of academic research and wider space for academic discussions. For example, a large number of monographs came out in the period, such as the General History of Chinese Music, the Dynastic History of Chinese Music, the History of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Music in Special Subjects, the History of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Music in Different Fields (including Music Education, Vocal Music, Piano and Erhu Art, etc.), and various history books of music in different regions, such as the History of Modern Music in Northeast China, the History of Music in Zhejiang, the History of Music Education in the 20th-Century China, and the 20th-Century Music Education in Chinese Schools, as well as various kinds of biographies of musicians, collections of music works, commemorative articles and historical documents on modern and contemporary music, etc. All of these have formed the colourful panorama of modern and contemporary Chinese music history research in the 30 years since the reforms and opening up.