Taiwanese beiguan opera musician Zhuang Jin-cai (莊進才), who is the founder of Hanyang Beiguan Opera Troupe, passed away on July 3 at the age of 87. Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) expressed his condolences over his demise and pointed out that MOC will propose awarding a presidential citation posthumously to Zhuang in recognition of his life-long contributions.
Born in Dongshan Township, Yilan County in 1935, Zhuang was exposed to beiguan music at an early age by living in the troupe with his father. He first joined a troupe at the age of 13, providing proficiency at wind, string, and percussion instruments alike, with the veterans in the troupe praising him as someone who can do anything.
In 1988, Zhuang founded the Hanyan Beiguan Troupe which became the most representative and outstanding traditional troupe in Yilan. Additionally, the troupe is the only professional beiguan group in Taiwan, performing both beiguan and Taiwanese opera.
He was also the recipient of the Global Chinese Culture and Arts Award, the Chinese Culture and Art Award, and the National Award for Arts. In 2009, MOC announced that the beiguan opera is registered as one of the significant traditional performing arts, and the Hanyan Beiguan Troupe was named as a preserver of this traditional arts.
After that, Zhuang and the troupe collaborate with the Bureau of Cultural Heritage of MOC to launch a project to empower these preservers to pass their skills on to the next generation. So far, it has entered the third phase.
Minister Lee pointed out that Zhuang had dedicated his entire life to the promotion, preservation, and transmission of beiguan opera, and, despite his passing, his legacy of dedication will be cherished forever by future generations.