NEW YORK－The city of New York's China Institute, in partnership with the Bard College Conservatory of Music, has launched a new educational program that covers traditional Chinese music.
Starting from this spring, the program, Music at China Institute, will offer classes on guqin, erhu and guzheng, each with eight sessions.
For toddlers, a "mommy and me" series will offer a fun way to learn Chinese musical rhythms and movements, further helping their intellectual and social development.
Small group classes are taught by professional instructors who are also award-winning musicians and educators, each carefully selected by BCCM.
Cai Jindong, director of BCCM's US-China Music Institute and Yu Feng, president of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, were among the guests at the program's launch ceremony on Sunday, which took place at China Institute's Lower Manhattan headquarters.
Yu, whose institution has been collaborating with the BCCM on traditional Chinese music education for over a year, congratulated the inauguration of the program, saying that music, as a universal language, could promote cultural exchanges between China and the United States.
This week, both Cai and Yu are visiting Bard College in upstate New York to attend the second annual conference of the US-China Music Institute, where music education professionals from around the world share their thoughts on teaching traditional Chinese music in the West.
China Institute President James Heimowitz said on Sunday that the constant desire of Americans to understand China in a "more human way" prompted his organization to launch the program.
"Today's collaborative effort is really, really special. It's the first time that we are bringing to an American audience the ability to learn about Chinese instruments here at China Institute," he said.
A number of US-based Chinese musicians who are proficient in playing traditional instruments performed several classic pieces, including Drinking Spree for guqin, Henan Tune for erhu and guzheng, and Happily Ship Crops for erhu, for an audience of around 200 music lovers and professionals.
Founded in 1926, the China Institute is the oldest bicultural, nonprofit organization in the US to focus exclusively on China.