Westernization and Music in China during and after the Qing Dynasty


  • Anna Chen University of Alberta


Before the Revolution of 1911, China was a mighty empire dominated by various Chinese ethnic groups in different time periods. In particular, the Han people of the Tang1 and Ming Dynasty and the Man people of the Qing Dynasty2 were enthusiastic in establishing and maintaining contacts with foreigners while retaining a strong political influence over the complex culture in China. When explorers, missionaries, or ambassadors travelled to the Chinese empire, they often brought fine commodities made with foreign technologies and crafts to the emperor as a sign of good faith and respect. Initially, these arts and advanced Western technologies of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century was not recognized as important academics studies by the Chinese scholars; in fact, they were only perceived as delicate artifacts3. It was not until roughly the twentieth century that some Chinese scholars then realized the importance of military powers and skilled economic trades and productions that were fostered by Western scholars, and then began to promote and study Western technologies and sciences in China4. In other words, after the Revolution of 1911, Western arts and technologies gained recognitions and supports by the Chinese scholars, and became dominant elements facilitating the social changes in China.

Author Biography

Anna Chen, University of Alberta

Anna Chen, born in Taichung, Taiwan, is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. After receiving her Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies in Finance in 2007, Anna was eager to reconnect with her music root and completed her BMus with Honours in Music Education from the Don Wright Faculty of Music in 2011. During her studies at the Don Wright Faculty, Anna worked closely with Ken Fleet and Dr. Gerald Neufeld to develop her passion in conducting. It was through working with fellow students in these classes that Anna decided to pursue a higher degree in choral conducting. Subsequently was accepted into the MMus in choral conducting program at the University of Alberta in 2011 and began her studies with Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff. During her graduate study, Anna’s talent in conducting was recognized by the Beryl Barns Memorial Graduate Award (2011, 2012) and the John and Logie Drew Graduate Scholarship in Choral Conducting (2011). As well, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship (2012) and Alberta Advanced Education Graduate Student Scholarship (2012) for her academic achievement. Anna’s primary research interest focuses on Chinese choral history, practice, and literature.