As part of the Ministry of Culture's ongoing efforts to reconstruct Taiwan's music history, an annual international symposium on Taiwan's contemporary music development took place on Dec. 6 and 7 at the Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center.
The two-day event sought to decode Taiwan's music evolution in its historical context by exploring how Hoklo, Hakka, indigenous, and western music have contributed to the richness and diversity of Taiwan's contemporary music. Topics including cultural diplomacy, the role of music in politics, and the origin of Taiwanese nursery rhymes were also touched upon.
Furthermore, the conference featured keynotes speeches by Japanese music critic Satoru Takaku and two Hong Kong-born Canadian composers — Chan Ka Nin (陳嘉年) and Alice Ho (何冰頤). Takaku set out to discuss the influence of Japanese music on late Taiwanese composer Kuo Chih-yuan's (郭芝苑) works, Chan addressed how classical Chinese culture inspires his music, and Ho shared the success story of the Canadian Music Centre, an institution established to promote Canadian musical creations.
As the event is now in its third year, music professor Yen Lu-fen (顏綠芬), lead organizer of the conference, said a platform for discussing ideas among scholars in the field has emerged. Inter-generational dialogue on Taiwan's music history was made possible by increased participation from young scholars, Yen pointed out.
Aside from the annual conference, Taiwan's music has also received greater appreciation from society and gained a wider range of audiences through performance, education, and promotion this year, Yen added.
With the budget for reconstructing Taiwan's music history being included in the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program (FIDP), a national program that aims to address Taiwan's key infrastructure needs, the Ministry aspires to paint a richer, fuller picture of Taiwanese art, music, crafts, and architecture, said Deputy Minister of Culture Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌).
The budget not only benefits the upgrade of cultural equipment and venues, but also bolsters the research on Taiwan's musical evolution and the preservation of precious music materials. Concert series such as "Sounds From Across Generations" and "Taiwan Music Image" were also made possible with support from FIDP.
More information on the ongoing reconstruction of Taiwan's music history is available at https://musichistorytw.com/.