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postgraduate thesis: Reflecting musically : the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra as a semi-colonial construct

TitleReflecting musically : the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra as a semi-colonial construct
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Pang, P. [彭珮玲]. (2015). Reflecting musically : the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra as a semi-colonial construct. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689291
AbstractThe Shanghai Municipal Orchestra was one of the earliest Western orchestras established in China. This thesis attempts to offer a new interpretation of the history of this enduring orchestra by considering it a reflection of semi-colonial ideology. The orchestra was first established in the form of a wind band in 1879 by the foreign settlers who occupied part of Shanghai as the foreign concessions. Comprising 14 Filipino wind players led by a French bandmaster, the Public Band initially served the purpose of entertaining the foreign community by performing light, popular dance music and opera medleys in the Public Garden and at other social events. The notion of semi-colonialism – which embraced varied attitudes of the settlers such as nostalgia, self-aggrandizement, flaunting of Western superiority, and pursuit of the freedom of being away from home – gradually emerged under this milieu. In 1906, the Band Committee re-structured the band and aimed to turn it into an orchestra. With the progressive introduction of classical masterpieces by composers such as Beethoven, Wagner, and Tchaikovsky, the Public Band was eventually transformed into a municipal orchestra. This probably reflected the shift in the settlers’ wish to forge the city into a permanent home. The Italian conductor, Mario Paci, brought the orchestra to its culminating point in the most flourishing period of 1930s Shanghai. He presented a wide range of repertory in different types of concerts through various distribution channels, thus making the music reach a very broad audience. He also introduced Chinese musicians and the music of Aaron Avshalomov, who incorporated Chinese musical elements into the Western orchestral genres. The Municipal Orchestra in the 1930s offered the best illustration of the city’s cosmopolitanism both visually and aurally on the stage. The Western community ended its control over the semi-colonial orchestra in 1942 after Japan’s occupation of the city in December 1941. This research tries to clarify certain misunderstood aspects in the early history of the orchestra, and re-interprets the development of the orchestra under the social and historical context of semi-colonial Shanghai. It involves a detailed examination of a large amount of primary source material, including the Orchestra and Band Committee minutes, the Municipal Council Annual Reports, the conductor’s annual reports to the Band Committee, local newspapers, as well as the program notes of the concerts which have never been given sufficient attention thus far. The research also approaches the question of how Western music was introduced to China from different perspectives borrowed from sociology, cultural studies, and literary criticism. As a semi-colonial construct, the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra reflected the social condition and ideology of the time and their changes through its organization, the music performed, and the personnel involved. The orchestra might have even foreshadowed the transformation of Shanghai from a semi-colonial to a cosmopolitan city, and exemplified that semi-colonialism can never be a fixed concept. While contributing to the musicological discussion of the East-West cultural encounter, this study facilitates further inter-disciplinary communication by proposing a more eclectic and comprehensive approach in this research area.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectOrchestra - China - Shanghai
Dept/ProgramMusic
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222349

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorPang, Pui-ling-
dc.contributor.author彭珮玲-
dc.date.accessioned2016-01-13T01:23:06Z-
dc.date.available2016-01-13T01:23:06Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationPang, P. [彭珮玲]. (2015). Reflecting musically : the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra as a semi-colonial construct. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5689291-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222349-
dc.description.abstractThe Shanghai Municipal Orchestra was one of the earliest Western orchestras established in China. This thesis attempts to offer a new interpretation of the history of this enduring orchestra by considering it a reflection of semi-colonial ideology. The orchestra was first established in the form of a wind band in 1879 by the foreign settlers who occupied part of Shanghai as the foreign concessions. Comprising 14 Filipino wind players led by a French bandmaster, the Public Band initially served the purpose of entertaining the foreign community by performing light, popular dance music and opera medleys in the Public Garden and at other social events. The notion of semi-colonialism – which embraced varied attitudes of the settlers such as nostalgia, self-aggrandizement, flaunting of Western superiority, and pursuit of the freedom of being away from home – gradually emerged under this milieu. In 1906, the Band Committee re-structured the band and aimed to turn it into an orchestra. With the progressive introduction of classical masterpieces by composers such as Beethoven, Wagner, and Tchaikovsky, the Public Band was eventually transformed into a municipal orchestra. This probably reflected the shift in the settlers’ wish to forge the city into a permanent home. The Italian conductor, Mario Paci, brought the orchestra to its culminating point in the most flourishing period of 1930s Shanghai. He presented a wide range of repertory in different types of concerts through various distribution channels, thus making the music reach a very broad audience. He also introduced Chinese musicians and the music of Aaron Avshalomov, who incorporated Chinese musical elements into the Western orchestral genres. The Municipal Orchestra in the 1930s offered the best illustration of the city’s cosmopolitanism both visually and aurally on the stage. The Western community ended its control over the semi-colonial orchestra in 1942 after Japan’s occupation of the city in December 1941. This research tries to clarify certain misunderstood aspects in the early history of the orchestra, and re-interprets the development of the orchestra under the social and historical context of semi-colonial Shanghai. It involves a detailed examination of a large amount of primary source material, including the Orchestra and Band Committee minutes, the Municipal Council Annual Reports, the conductor’s annual reports to the Band Committee, local newspapers, as well as the program notes of the concerts which have never been given sufficient attention thus far. The research also approaches the question of how Western music was introduced to China from different perspectives borrowed from sociology, cultural studies, and literary criticism. As a semi-colonial construct, the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra reflected the social condition and ideology of the time and their changes through its organization, the music performed, and the personnel involved. The orchestra might have even foreshadowed the transformation of Shanghai from a semi-colonial to a cosmopolitan city, and exemplified that semi-colonialism can never be a fixed concept. While contributing to the musicological discussion of the East-West cultural encounter, this study facilitates further inter-disciplinary communication by proposing a more eclectic and comprehensive approach in this research area.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshOrchestra - China - Shanghai-
dc.titleReflecting musically : the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra as a semi-colonial construct-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5689291-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineMusic-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5689291-

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