2: A Quest for Taiwan Guoyue: The Taipei Chinese Orchestra and the Making of Taiwanese Musical Identity
Saturday, March 26, 2022
6:00pm – 7:30pm EST
Virtual Paper Presenter(s)
Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore
Guoyue (國樂) has been used since historical times to refer to various forms of music in China. The earliest form of Chinese orchestral music (guoyue) can be dated back to the founding of the Datong Music Society (Datong yuehui 大同樂會) in 1919, the year of the May Fourth Movement. This genre was an invented tradition, which supported Chinese nationalism during this tumultuous period. After the Kuomintang’s Republic of China government retreated to Taiwan in 1949, musicians in Taiwan no longer had direct contact with China, and they began to develop their local form of Chinese orchestral music, which I call “Taiwan guoyue” (台灣國樂). This study uses the case of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra (Taibei shili guoyue tuan 臺北市立國 樂團, TCO), the first professional Chinese orchestra in Taiwan to be fully sponsored by the Taiwanese government, to demonstrate how Taiwan’s Chinese orchestras developed Chinese orchestral music to distinguish themselves from other Chinese orchestras in China and in Sinophone regions in general. It suggests that the TCO, which initially served to showcase Taiwan’s cultural ties with China, gradually evolved to highlight the characteristics of “Taiwan guoyue.” As this paper demonstrates, although the modern Chinese orchestra was first established in China, sociopolitical changes in the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War led to differences in the development of Chinese orchestral music on the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.