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Goodwill and Harmony in China
Nothing communicates across cultures quite the way music can. Stirring human emotions, it’s tones and melodies bring to life ideas and memories that might otherwise get lost in translation. For six faculty members from the Department of Music, a recent trip to Shanghai was a chance to spread goodwill and develop partnerships.
Faculty taking part in the week-long trip to China included: Simona Barbu (cello), Royce Blackburn (baritone), Anne Christopherson (soprano voice), Ronnie Ingle (trumpet), Nariaki Sugiura (piano), and Michael Wittgraf (chair of Music and a composer). Their purpose for going was to continue and strengthen UND’s connection to University of Shanghai Science and Technology (USST), as well as spread goodwill on behalf of UND.
During the eight-day trip, the faculty also visited the Music Departments at East China Normal University and Tongji University, where they have an ongoing working relationship. “We also made new connections with Jianping High School the top high school in Shanghai. It was the first time the school had ever received a visit from music faculty,” said Wittgraf.
The faculty gave solo and ensemble performance of American compositions and held workshops instrumental and vocal music and lectures on musical composition.
"It was exciting to collaborate with my colleagues at several venues, and represent the University of North Dakota in such a positive and important cultural exchange,” said Ingle.
For Chinese music students, the visit was an opportunity to learn and receive instruction from professional music faculty.
“Our performances and presentations were well received,” said Sugiura. “The Chinese students and faculty with whom we interacted were gracious and genuinely interested in exchanging ideas and information. I was especially pleased at the students who indicated an interest in new experimental American music.”
Their ears were wide open and receptive to new and unusual sounds, and their responses were delightfully insightful,” said Wittgraf.
Faculty from the Music Deaprtment traveled to China to strengthen and continue UND’s connection to University of Shanghai Science and Technology (USST), as well as spread goodwill on behalf of UND.