Berklee, Xinghai Conservatory Discuss Potential Collaboration
As Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, China maps out its vision for the future and looks to Berklee as a potential model, officials from the Conservatory and Berklee met on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 to discuss topics of mutual interest and to explore possibilities for collaboration. The delegation from Xinghai included Conservatory President Tang Yongbao and his wife and daughter; Huang Yue, director of foreign affairs; and Yang Mingming, director of concert operations. From Berklee, those in attendance included President Roger H. Brown and several of the college’s vice presidents and faculty members. The gathering was facilitated, in part, by Shengjian Guo, the father of a current Berklee student.
Xinghai Conservatory is one of three Chinese conservatories with which Berklee signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2013, and the two institutions are already planning on collaborating during a week in October when Berklee will send students and faculty to do an exchange program at Xinghai. Beyond that, the leaders discussed a possible joint summer program next year as well as the potential for a combined degree in which students could complete part of their coursework at Xinghai and part at Berklee, as well as what a curriculum suitable for students at both institutions might look like.
Established in 1932 by composer Ma Sicong and later renamed after the renowned Chinese composer Xian Xinghai, Xinghai Conservatory is one of nine top conservatories in China that largely focus on classical music. Yongbao said that he would like to combine the work of several departments at Xinghai in order to offer a future degree focusing on contemporary music.
“In five to ten years, I would like to establish Xinghai Conservatory as one of the leading figures in contemporary music among China’s conservatories,” Yongbao said. “The teaching philosophy at Xinghai Conservatory is similar to that at Berklee, so both institutions could achieve a ‘win-win’ situation” in collaborating with one another, he said.
Brown said he was completely open to the idea of working with Xinghai Conservatory and that Berklee will accelerate work to try to activate the collaboration as soon as possible.
"Berklee and Xinghai Conservatory are exploring many ways that we might accelerate the growth of the Chinese contemporary music industry," Brown said. "We are like-minded institutions of a similar scale and we are excited to work together to stimulate the creative talents of young musicians around the world."
In addition to meetings to discuss ideas for working together, the day included a tour of Berklee’s Boston campus by current student Ailing Jiang and a performance by Berklee student group the Amalur Quartet.