Arts Education Milestone Reached

Believing that the future of arts exchange depends on the current generation of children, the Center has been involved in projects on arts education since 1979. This year we completed a three-year program that built on earlier exchanges in 1980 and 1982, all of which were supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. This 1984-87 phase of our work was an exchange designed to examine the ways in which the arts are taught to the children of China and the United States by means of a series of delegations and three-month residencies by arts education specialists.

The project was carried out with Harvard Project Zero as our partner. Project Zero, under the direction of Dr. Howard Gardner, is a research program in psychology within Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, which specializes in the study of creativity in children. For the Chinese, the project was carried out as a ground-breaking collaboration between two Ministry-level agencies— the Ministry of Culture and the State Education Commission.

It seemed clear to all the participants at the outset that there were inherent differences in the educational systems that would have an inevitable impact on arts education. For instance, the Chinese—through their national agencies—have a vehicle for setting and implementing national policy. In the United States, with its tradition of diversity and decentralization, the situation is quite different. Although there are national guidelines for educational goals, specific policy and curriculum are set at the state, city, and sometimes even district level.

Also, it is commonly known that China traditionally has valued a reverence for the past, which may work against innovation, iconoclasm, and creativity. The United States, on the other hand, highly regards that which is new, individualistic, even experimental. Creativity would be expected to blossom under the U.S. system of education.

As the exchanges progressed, however, these hypotheses were not borne out. The more our specialists were exposed to Chinese arts education, the more unclear these distinctions became. For instance, the concept that the educational system in the United States emphasizes creativity over skills—one of the first findings of the American specialists who spent extended time in China—calls to question the very definition of creativity. If, as some research has begun to show, the term “creativity” itself is culture-bound, then the creativity vs. skills dichotomy might break down.

These and other findings of the twenty specialists—both Chinese and American, who participated in the exchange over the three-year period —will be discussed in a binational culminating conference to be held in July of 1988. Papers will then be disseminated in an effort to share the findings with arts education theorists and practitioners in both countries, as well as with the general public.

In the fall of 1986, an exchange took place involving visual arts specialists Barbara Carlisle and Carma Hinton, and music teachers Xin Guoliu and Zhu Zeping. Springtime 1987 exchanges saw visual arts teachers Hou Ling and Chen Shoupeng in the United States for three months, and creativity researchers Howard Gardner and Ellen Winner in China.

Dr. Carlisle, a specialist in curriculum development in the arts, is Associate Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and concurrently Literary Manager at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Among Dr. Carlisle’s publications are a commissioned report on “The State of the Arts in Michigan,” for the Christian Science Monitor, and “Toward an Iconography for Arts Education,” in the Journal of the New York University School of Education. Carma Hinton, who was born in China and lived there until the age of twenty-one, is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at Harvard University and a filmmaker who counts among her credits the prize-winning Small Happiness: Women of a Chinese Village and, most recently, First Moon. In China, the State Education Commission divided their three-month stay equally among Beijing, Xi’an, and Chongqing. Ms. Hinton’s fluency in Chinese and familiarity with the culture and customs contributed to the team’s unusual access, and Dr. Carlisle’s scholarship and experience in the field of arts education gave the team the skills necessary to observe and analyze what they were seeing.

Music educators, Xin Guoliu (Deputy Director of the Fujian Province Middle School Teacher’s Music Center Teaching Research Group) and Zhu Zeping (music teacher at the Tianmen Experimental Primary School in Hubei Province), spent two months in the United States, with their time divided among New York, Connecticut, Michigan, and San Francisco. They not only observed music classes, met with school administrators, and visited many after-school music programs, but also participated in music activities—teaching, singing, and demonstrating their own skills in Chinese music.

Chinese visual arts teachers Hou Ling (from Beijing’s Shangtangzi Elementary School) and Chen Shoupeng (from Shanghai’s Fangua Nong Elementary School) spent three months visiting the United States during the spring of 1987, traveling to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Los Angeles, where they similarly combined observation with teaching and demonstrating. For exchangees, the highlight of visits abroad is often the opportunity to practice their own professional skills in another country. 

During the same season, the project exchanges were brought to a close with the China visit of Dr. Howard Gardner, director of Harvard Project Zero, and Dr. Ellen Winner, Professor of Psychology at Boston College. These two colleagues have worked together on research into creativity in young children and are both published authors in their field. Dr. Winner’s books include Invented Worlds: The Psychology of the Arts and the forthcoming The Point of Words: Children’s Understanding of Metaphor and Irony. Among Dr. Gardner’s books are Artful Scribbles: The Significance of Children’s Drawings; Art, Mind, and Brain: A Cognitive Approach to Creativity; and Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. During their time in China, the two observed music and visual arts classes for the very young in Beijing and Nanjing, with Dr. Gardner continuing on to Xiamen. They both offered lectures in each city that were enthusiastically attended and well publicized in the Chinese press.

Whereas the U.S. sent to China mostly scholars, researchers, and administrators, the Chinese sent to the U.S. mostly classroom teachers. This is an example of the way in which the Center’s exchange projects are designed to be reciprocal, but not identical.

We expect that the culminating conference will also reflect the differing research styles of the participating countries—with the U.S. side presenting more theoretical and scholarly papers, and the Chinese side presenting more documentation of their observations and practical recommendations for curriculum changes.

May 1987: Capital Campaign Tops $1 Million

At a gala reception held at the Permanent Mission of the P.R.C. to the United Nations on May 12, 1987, Center director Chou Wen-chung announced contributions of $1.12 million to the Center in endowment and general support grants. With a founding gift of $500,000 from the Ford Foundation, the Center was able to establish an endowment at Columbia University. Additional contributions of $300,000 from the Starr Foundation and $20,000 from Walter and Esther Hewlett (AC member) of San Francisco have put the endowment figure at $820,000. A $300,000 general support grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, which, along with Ford and Starr was among the Center’s earliest supporters, put us over the $1 million mark.

Kitty Carlisle Hart and United Nations Ambassador Li Luye celebrate the announcement of the Center's capital campaign
Kitty Carlisle Hart and United Nations Ambassador Li Luye celebrate the announcement of the Center's capital campaign

The May 12 reception was a gathering of Center Advisory Council members; diplomats; artists; U.S. China exchange leaders; and members of the cultural, governmental, educational, foundation, and business communities. 

Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Li Luye served as host, and guests included Han Xu, Chinese Ambassador to the United States; Arthur Miller; Jacques d’Amboise; Hortense Calisher; Curtis Harnack; Allen Ginsberg; and Kitty Carlisle Hart, chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts, who attended representing New York’s governor, Mario Cuomo.

In his remarks that evening, Ambassador Han Xu affirmed the commitment of the Chinese to “continued encouragement and support for art exchanges” as an “integral part of China’s policy of opening to the outside world. “Ambassador Han went on to say that “The interchange of arts between different countries will expand and enrich each participant and will ensure that the world peoples will live and create harmoniously together.”

Professor Chou took the opportunity to further announce the launching of a capital campaign for the Center, with a two-year goal of $3 million, and a five-year target of $5 million.

China’s Minister of Culture, Wang Meng, was forced by his busy schedule to turn down the Center ‘s invitation to participate in the evening; however, he was one of many to write a letter of congratulations. Professor Chou read Minister Wang’s message: “I am so happy and respectful of your Center’s efforts on behalf of Sino-American cultural exchange. We hope your Center will continue to flourish. Best wishes for the continued healthy development of Sino-American exchanges!”

One of the results of the Center’s invitation to Wang Meng last May was a reciprocal invitation from China’s Ministry of Culture for the Center to send a high-level fact-finding delegation to China in the fall of 1987. News from this delegation’s trip will appear in the next Center newsletter.

Writers Meet Writers

Since a country’s literature offers such a clear and direct window into the culture of that country, writers exchanges have been a mainstay of the Center’s work since its founding. Building on a tradition that includes visits to China by Herman Wouk, Susan Sontag, Kenneth Koch, E. L. Doctorow, and Galway Kinnell—not to mention Arthur Miller—the Center arranged for the November 1986 trip of Hortense Calisher and Curtis Harnack.

At the time of their visit, both were heads of influential writers’ organizations—she, president of the American PEN Center; and he, president of the Yaddo Corporation. Ms. Calisher, a well-known novelist and short story writer, is also a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

As guests of the Chinese Writers’ Association, the two authors traveled to Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. They met with fellow writers and members of the Chinese Writers’ Association and spoke at Beijing University and Shanghai’s Fudan University. The question/answer sessions at the universities were high points for these American writers, who have made professional visits to Eastern Europe and Latin America in the past.

Lively questions, especially in Shanghai, drew out both the lecturers and the audience; and the give-and-take proved interesting for all concerned.

Calisher and Harnack took (and shipped ahead) volumes of their collected works, which they found were avidly snapped up. Funding for their international travel and the shipment of books was provided by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.

Their interest in promoting the translation and distribution of contemporary Chinese fiction in the United States was also sparked by the trip. Calisher was especially impressed with Wang Meng’s prose and Bei Dao’s poetry, both of which she read in preparation for the trip.

The Chinese Writers’ Association, uniformly pleased with the caliber of American writers who have already visited China under the Center’s auspices, have urged us to continue this work.

Fall Update—Capital Campaign Surpasses Halfway Mark for Two-Year Goal

Before this newsletter went to press, the Center received two more major contributions to its capital campaign. A grant in the amount of $150,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for the Center’s general support, and a $300,000 gift to the Center’s endowment from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, bring our capital drive to $1.57 million as of the close of 1987.

The Hewlett Foundation grant marks a first-time contribution from that West Coast foundation, which concentrates its giving on education, the performing arts, population issues, the environment, and conflict resolution. Designated as a Special Project grant, the Foundation went beyond its usual guidelines, recognizing “the importance of [the Center’s] efforts to facilitate exchanges between China and the United States of individuals and artistic groups.”

The grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, on the other hand, comes from one of the Center’s oldest and most consistent supporters. Over the almost decade of the Center’s existence, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has given the Center general support money and also programmatic grants that have enabled us to carry out our unique exchange work in the field of arts education. 

These two gifts combine to bring the Center’s capital campaign over the halfway mark toward its two-year goal of $3 million.

Balanchine Danced in Shanghai and Beijing

June 14, 1987, marked the culmination of a yearlong project—but a multi-year dream—to bring the choreography of the late George Balanchine to China. On that date the Central Ballet of China danced Serenade, one of Balanchine’s most lyrical dances that reflects both his Russian heritage and his American balletic influence. The setting was Beijing’s Exhibition Hall Theatre, a vast building with over 2,000 seats. With fixed lighting and a huge unsprung floor not the best conditions for classical ballet—the Chinese male and female dancers made Balanchine their own.

Behind-the-scenes work on this project began more than three years before. In early 1984 then-Director of the Arts Bureau of the Ministry of Culture, Li Gang, approached the Center, asking us to help design a program that would strengthen Western classical ballet choreography in China.  

Suki Schorer instructs a member of the Central Ballet in Balanchine technique
Suki Schorer instructs a member of the Central Ballet in Balanchine technique

Simultaneously, Joan Goldhamer (of Los Angeles) and Joan Wohlstetter (of New York) were thinking of ways to follow up on an Earthwatch-sponsored trip that had introduced them to the world of dance in China. They observed the same need that Li Gang was anxious to fill—the need for the very proficient Chinese ballet dancers to have greater exposure to Western technique and to expand their repertoire.

After enlisting the support of the Balanchine Estate—in particular its executor Barbara Horgan—Goldhamer and Wohlstetter approached the Center to bring the project to fruition. The timing was perfect.

With the full cooperation of the Balanchine Estate, which waived rights and royalties for two Balanchine ballets, the Center, Joan Goldhamer, Joan Wohlstetter, China’s Ministry of Culture, the Central Ballet, and the Shanghai Ballet set about designing, planning, and implementing the Balanchine Project. With major funding from ITT Corporation, and support from both Occidental Petroleum Corporation and the H. J. Heinz Company Foundation, three ballet mistresses were sent to teach Balanchine technique, style, and choreography to the Shanghai Ballet and Central Ballet. 

Francia Russell, Artistic Director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet and herself a former New York City Ballet principal dancer, spent three weeks in Shanghai in the fall of 1986 teaching Balanchine technique, and returned for three weeks in January of 1987.

The January trip was spent teaching members of the Shanghai Ballet Company Balanchine’s La Valse. With costuming, set, and light design, as well as score and choreography provided by the Balanchine Estate, the company premiered La Valse in China on January 18.

The Central Ballet’s training was also split into two segments—with former New York City Ballet principal ballerina Suki Schorer doing the technique training in Beijing in March, and Karin von Aroldingen, another former Balanchine prima ballerina, teaching and producing Serenade during three arduous, but rewarding, weeks in June of 1987.

During the Central Ballet’s spring 1986 tour of the United States, American dance critics praised the company’s technical virtuosity and classical style, but strongly suggested that the company lacked exposure to contemporary influences, especially those of Balanchine, which would enhance its overall appeal and performance ability. “Since its introduction to China,” Professor Chou told a Columbia Record reporter in the fall of 1986, “classical ballet has achieved impressive technical prowess. There is, however, a need to improve upon its fluidity of movement. The Balanchine style, with its renowned combination of precision and musicality, will provide these technically adept dancers with added dimensions of elegance and grace.”

These observations were borne out by the experience of the three representatives of Balanchine style; improvement among their students in the areas of fluidity, musicality, and speed were the most marked results of the months of teaching, practice, rehearsal, and performance.

Through Occidental Petroleum’s Beijing office, an opening night celebration was planned that followed the premiere of Serenade. Center assistant director, Susan Rhodes, traveled to Beijing to participate in the reception supported by both Occidental Petroleum Corporation and ITT. Many of China’s cultural leaders were on hand to share in the festivities, including Vice Minister of Culture, Liu Deyou; president of the Central Conservatory of Music, Wu Zuqiang; general secretary of the Chinese Dancers’ Association, You Huihai; general secretary of the China International Culture Exchange Centre, Cheng Siyuan; special consultant to the Beijing Municipal Government, Bai Jiefu; and many other dance, music, art, and exchange officials of China. Retired general secretary of the China Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Wang Bingnan—an old friend of the Center—made a rare appearance at the performance.

Barbara Horgan, executor of the Balanchine Estate, was in attendance in spirit, though not in person. Her belief, one that guided the entire project, was that “Mr. Balanchine distributed his ballets very liberally. He was very generous with his repertory, and we would like to continue that tradition. His works belong to dancers and the public; they belong to the world.”

Officials from the funding agencies and the Central Ballet were all on hand to share congratulatory toasts and wishes of future exchange in the field of dance.

Beyond the Open Door

As provocative as its title, the exhibition Beyond the Open Door: Contemporary Paintings from the People’s Republic of China, opened in Pasadena’s Pacific Asia Museum in the spring of 1987. The paintings were collected by Center Advisory Council member Waldemar A. Nielsen in three buying trips to China.

The American public at large is still mostly in the dark when it comes to current innovations in the Chinese art world. This exhibit uniquely demonstrates the newness and diversity of Chinese painting in the 1980s.

With introductions from the Center, Nielsen traveled to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing, where he met with artists and arts administrators both within the established academies and associations and outside those established bureaucracies.

Paintings and scrolls were pulled from under or behind beds. The artists were so surprised and happy that this non-Chinese-speaking Westerner appreciated their vision that they let him have his pick.

It is the Center’s hope that Beyond the Open Door, which was originally organized and exhibited with support from ARCO, will tour the U.S. and have an East Coast showing within the coming year. For this purpose, Nielsen traveled again to China in the fall of 1987 to update and broaden the exhibition. 

In the meantime, anyone interested in purchasing the very handsome catalogue published by the Pacific Asia Museum and edited by the Museum’s Adjunct Curator of Chinese Art, Richard E. Strassberg, and Mr. Nielsen, can contact The Bookstore, Pacific Asia Museum, 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101, (818) 449-2742.

Broadway and Off-Broadway Come to China

“Seventy-six trombones,” “Trouble in River City,” and “Plant a cabbage, get a cabbage…” all sung in Chinese? May 8 and 9, 1987, were the Beijing premieres of The Music Man and The Fantasticks, and these lyrics were heard—and seen (with the help of supra-titles) —by audiences in China for the first time.

The idea of following the tremendous success of the Beijing production of Death of a Salesman with a Broadway musical had long been discussed by the Center and the Chinese Theatre Association. After many possible titles were considered, including Oklahoma (which worried the Chinese because of the intricate American dance routines) and Fiddler on the Roof (felt inappropriate by the Americans because the story isn’t an American one), the choices were finally agreed upon.

The project to bring The Music Man to the Chinese stage, with Chinese casts, was a joint collaboration among the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the Chinese Central Opera Theatre, the Ministry of Culture’s Arts Bureau, the Chinese Theatre Association, and the Center. Produced by Edward Corn and Gayle Ritchie, the project had American support from Shearson Lehman Brothers (an American Express Company), United Airlines, and the Asian Cultural Council, and domestic costs in China covered by the Ministry, the Central Opera, and the Theatre Association. The O’Neill’s president, George C. White, followed his successful 1984 production in China of Anna Christie by directing The Music Man. The decision to include a second musical —the off-Broadway hit, The Fantasticks— proved to be a fortuitous one.

Beijing audiences were suitably impressed with the spectacle of The Music Man—the lavish costuming, the huge song and dance production numbers, the boisterousness of the acting, the story of the Midwest salesman of musical instruments. However, it was The Fantasticks, with its simple story of young love and parental meddling and devotion, that captured the hearts of audiences in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. The much smaller scope of The Fantasticks—its eight-person cast, spare set, easy costuming, and uncomplicated musical accompaniment —allowed it to tour outside of Beijing. This greater flexibility, and the appeal of its moralistic message, all charmingly brought to life by P. Rodney Marriott, Associate Artistic Director of Circle Repertory, who went to China to direct this longest-running off- Broadway show, made it a hit of the 1987 summer theater season in China.

Many more musicals have been suggested as possible projects for China, but for now the Central Opera Theatre does not foresee such a large scale undertaking soon. Crossing danwei (or work units) in order to mix contemporary singing, dancing, and acting in one production, is rare in China. One of the main goals in bringing the American musical theater to China was to urge the Chinese to think in these terms. Whether the Chinese theater community will increasingly integrate these disciplines in their own new theatrical productions is an important question for the future.

Orchestral Management

Yang Dajing, cellist and manager of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, spent a one-year residency at the Albany Symphony Orchestra from July 1986 to July 1987, learning about orchestral management. Under a grant from the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), Mr. Yang’s program was designed to give him the greatest possible exposure to management styles and techniques of a variety of U.S. orchestras.

Albany was chosen for his stay, partly because its metropolitan demands are in many ways comparable to those faced in Shanghai—a more populous but less developed city than New York or Boston, which might have been seen as more obvious choices for residency.

Another important reason for the choice of Albany was the fact that Peter Kermani, president of the Albany Symphony, is simultaneously serving as president of the American Symphony Orchestra League. From that vantage point, Mr. Kermani and Susan Bush, the Albany Symphony’s former manager, were in a position to arrange Mr. Yang’s yearlong schedule. Side trips were planned to New York City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and San Francisco, where Yang Dajing participated in symposia and spent time with a variety of orchestras.

Mr. Yang’s visit was the direct outgrowth of an earlier Center project, also supported by the ACC. During 1981, Chen Xieyang, then-conductor for the Shanghai Ballet Company, spent a year of short-term residencies and guest conducting with several orchestras in the United States. Since Mr. Chen’s return to Shanghai, he has been promoted to the position of artistic director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra—an extremely prestigious and influential position within China’s arts community. It was with this background that Mr. Chen strongly supported Yang Dajing’s U.S. visit, seeing his greater understanding and skill in orchestral management as a way to further modernize the Shanghai Symphony.

Hallmarks of that orchestra’s changes have been a revamping of its repertory, a streamlining of its management, and innovative scheduling —including the presentation of a first ever all Beethoven concert in China. With Mr. Yang’s new expertise it is expected that the Symphony will turn its attention to more modern methods of ticket sales, promotion, and advertising.

New York International Ballet Competition

In June of 1987, ballet projects were being carried out in both China and the U.S. At the same time that the Central Ballet was learning and performing George Balanchine’s Serenade in China for the first time, three of China’s finest young dancers were in New York competing for recognition with dancers from many countries, including the United States, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Taiwan, and Yugoslavia.

The invitation to China to participate In the New York International Ballet Competition had been forwarded by the Center to the Arts Bureau of the Ministry of Culture many months before. The dancers were well chosen to represent their country. The couple from the Shanghai Ballet Company danced its way to high honors—Xin Lili winning the silver in the women’s category (the highest honor since no gold was given) and Yang Xinhua winning the bronze in the men’s competition. Guo Qianping, who was partnered with an American ballerina, also participated, representing the Shenyang Ballet Company.

Mme. Dai Ailian, renowned Chinese dance artist whose many titles include artistic advisor to the Central Ballet, vice president of the Chinese Dancers’ Association, and vice president of Conseil International de la Danse (UNESCO), joined an illustrious roster of judges and teachers that included Alicia Alonso, Alexandra Danilova, Arthur Mitchell, Yoko Morishita, Arnold Spohr, and Violette Verdy.

A unique feature of the Competition was the participation of host families. The dancers were housed at Barnard College, but host families provided a support network, spending time taking the dancers around New York and cheering them on during their performances. Center deputy director Andrew Andreasen and his wife Eulalia, and Center administrative associate Dru Finley participated in the host family program.

The Juilliard Orchestra Plays Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou

In June of 1987, the 112-member Juilliard Orchestra, accompanied by several members of the administration and faculty, made its first tour of Asia.

Members of the Juilliard Orchestra visiting the Great Wall
Members of the Juilliard Orchestra visiting the Great Wall

The highly professional group, made up of students aged 17 to 29, traveled to Japan, China, and Hong Kong. The trip was made possible by Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., United Airlines, Mr. Lawrence Wien, and other generous donors.

Concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou allowed Chinese audiences to enjoy the Juilliard’s repertoire of Strauss, Bartok, Stravinsky, Barber, Haydn, and Beethoven. The performances were met with great enthusiasm—both from the Chinese audiences and the Chinese press. China Daily described the Beijing concerts in glowing terms, observing that “the superb technique and fine musical sense of each individual member was particularly impressive.”

However, it was the face-to-face encounters with the orchestra members’ young counterparts that marked the visit as more than a concert tour. A highlight of the trip was a one-day visit to the Central Conservatory of Music. There the students performed reciprocal recitals; and master classes were offered by some of Juilliard’s most illustrious faculty members, including violinist Robert Mann, founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet; flutist Julius Baker; and violin professor Dorothy DeLay, who has already nurtured several Chinese proteges. The universality of their musical language—and the broad smiles of young adults allowed for the most genuine of cultural exchanges. 

Joseph W. Polisi, Juilliard’s president and a member of the Center’s Advisory Council, expressed his school’s desire to “reach out beyond the boundaries of our institution, [and] to share our dedication to the performing arts with our colleagues and friends of the People’s Republic of China.”

The Center, which assisted Juilliard’s trip by providing pre-trip briefings and interpreting help during the visit to the Central Conservatory, is anxious to work with Juilliard and the conservatories in China to continue this reaching out beyond boundaries.

Center Lends a Hand

In addition to creating and carrying out its own projects, the Center assisted other organizations with their programs for Chinese artists. Following on its longstanding work in theater, music, visual arts, and arts education, the Center offered assistance in these fields.

In July of 1986, three members of the Chinese Theatre Association, Li Jie, Wang Zheng, and Zhao Huan, visited the United States as guests of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. After their stay in Waterford, Connecticut, they were guests of our Center and the O’Neill Center at the Greenwich Village production of The Fantasticks, which was later produced in China in May 1987 as a collaboration among the Ministry of Culture, the Central Opera Theatre, the Chinese Theatre Association, the O’Neill Theater Center, and the Center.

In the field of music, guests included Liu Dadong, Hong Teng, and Zheng Xiaoying. Liu Dadong, President of the Xi’an Conservatory, invited to the U.S. by Bowling Green University in Ohio, visited New York in November of 1986. The Center arranged a week’s worth of professional meetings that gave Professor Liu the opportunity to visit New York’s major conservatories. Also in music, the Center assisted Birmingham-Southern College in bringing Hong Teng, a professor of piano at the Shanghai Conservatory, to participate in the College’s Festival of the Arts. While in the U.S., Ms. Hong served as a judge for the Alys Robinson Stephens Piano Competition and gave a recital as part of Birmingham-Southern College’s Night at the Festival of the Arts. In May of 1987 Zheng Xiaoying, chief conductor of the Central Opera Theatre, visited the U.S. from Beijing. In addition to attending several concerts, Ms. Zheng met with administrators at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. 

The Center’s interest in visual arts projects prompted us to assist the Center for Chinese Studies and the School of Art at the University of Michigan in their planning for a New York visit by Li Huasheng, a contemporary painter from Sichuan Province. Visits to New York museums and galleries allowed Mr. Li the chance to see what is going on in the New York art world during his brief stay.

Finally, the Center’s ongoing work in arts education led us to assist a delegation of five officials during their spring 1987 trip to the United States, London, and Paris. While in New York, the Center set up visits to The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music for Gao Yin and Lü Zhengwu of the Arts Education Bureau of the Ministry of Culture, Shan Renchao of the Shanghai Conservatory, Xi Shuyao of the Central Conservatory, and Zhu Naizheng of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. We also had the chance to meet with them and discuss continued plans for the Center’s exchanges in arts education.

In addition to assisting Chinese artists in the U.S., the Center also helped American artists and arts educators to arrange visits with their professional counterparts in China. The Center requested meetings for Muriel Topaz, Chairman of the Department of Dance at The Juilliard School, and composer Jacob Druckman, during their three-week trip to Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou in the summer of 1986. Ms. Topaz visited with members of the Central Ballet and the Beijing Dance Academy, and gave lessons at the Laban Notation Institute. Mr. Druckman met with the Chinese Musicians’ Association and held discussions with composers at the Shanghai Conservatory.

In May of 1987, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra traveled to Beijing, where they performed at the Beijing Concert Hall and the Workers’ Stadium as part of their Far East Tour. Last spring, the Center arranged for the Georgia Brass Quintet to spend one week at the Shanghai Conservatory, where they gave master classes and performances for the faculty and students.

Gary Graffman, President of the Curtis Institute of Music, visited the Central Conservatory also in May. The following month, Professor Solomon Mikowsky of Manhattan School of Music’s piano faculty visited the Central, Shanghai, and Xi’an Conservatories. Both Graffman and Mikowsky met with their professional counterparts at the conservatories, and took advantage of the opportunity to hear some of China’s brightest young musicians.

Pavarotti in China

In June of 1986, the renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti traveled to China with the Genoa Opera. As guests of the Central Opera Theatre and the Ministry of Culture, the Company performed La Boheme and gave several recitals of 19th century Italian songs. Not surprisingly, the superstar of the opera world commanded tremendous attention and adulation wherever he went in Beijing. 

A scene from Distant Harmony, Luciano Pavarotti in China
A scene from Distant Harmony, Luciano Pavarotti in China

An American filmmaking team, assisted by the Center, accompanied Pavarotti on his trip. The new feature film, Distant Harmony, was the result of their efforts.

Distant Harmony, co-produced by John Goberman, Daniel Wigutow, and DeWitt Sage, and directed by Mr. Sage, shows the singer not only performing, but also exploring the streets of Beijing and interacting with students and faculty at Chinese conservatories. 

The film offers movie-goers the chance to witness the extraordinary encounter between a China open to the West and one of the West’s most famous artists.

Staff Changes

Andrew J. Andreasen was appointed Deputy Director, July 1, 1987. The new position was created in conjunction with the Center’s establishment of an endowment and initiation of a capital campaign that has already yielded $1.57 million.

Andy will share responsibility with Center Director Chou Wen-chung for designing programs, negotiating with China on exchanges, and realizing the Center’s five-year capital drive goal of $5 million.

Before joining the Center, Andy worked for Chemical Bank as deputy representative in Beijing and as China consultant for China Capital Partners Ltd. With a B.S. in nautical science from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, M.A.’s in East Asian Studies and Linguistics, and a Ph.D. in Chinese Language and Literature—all three graduate degrees from Stanford University—Andy brings a unique combination of academic background and practical experience to the Center.

The Center’s Financial Assistant, Elizabeth Wundeler, has left to pursue graduate studies. William A. Gerber, a graduate of Wesleyan University, has joined the Center in that position. Bill’s B.A. is in East Asian Studies, and his experience before coming to the Center includes one semester at Beijing University and an academic year at the Inter-University Program in Taiwan.

Purpose and Organization

The Center for United States-China Arts Exchange is a not-for-profit national organization affiliated with the School of the Arts at Columbia University. The Center’s goal is threefold: to facilitate exchanges between the United States and China of individuals and materials in the arts, to stimulate public awareness of the arts in both countries, and to foster collaborative projects among American and Chinese artists.

Established on October 1,1978, with support grants from the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and a research grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Center receives contributions of office space and university services from Columbia, where a 1987 Ford Foundation grant established an endowment for the Center’s continued operation. The Center is not a funding organization; it relies on contributions of money materials, and services from foundations, corporations, and individuals to carry out its programs.

The Board of Managers and the Advisory Council, both created in the spring of 1981, oversee the Center’s programs and policies. A Development Committee, comprising two members of the Board of Managers and six members of the Advisory Council, advises and assists the Center in fundraising.

Board of Managers

  • Michael I. Sovern, Honorary Chairman
  • Robert F. Goldberger
  • Peter Smith
  • Chou Wen-chung

Advisory Council

  • Robert E. Armstrong
  • Ana R. Daniel
  • Joan W. Harris
  • Esther Hewlett
  • Richard Holbrooke
  • Robert D. Hormats
  • Geraldine Kunstadter
  • Ming Cho Lee
  • Robert A. Levinson
  • Cho-Liang Lin
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Porter McKeever
  • Arthur Miller
  • Waldemar A. Nielsen
  • I. M. Pei
  • Russell A. Phillips, Jr.
  • Joseph W. Polisi
  • Cynthia H. Polksy
  • Arthur H. Rosen
  • Norman Ross
  • Harrison E. Salisbury
  • Larry E. Snoddon
  • Isaac Stern
  • Audrey Topping

Officers and Staff

  • Chou Wen-chung, Director
  • Andrew J. Andreasen, Deputy Director
  • Susan L. Rhodes, Assistant Director
  • Dru E. Finley, Administrative Assistant
  • William A. Gerber, Financial Assistant
  • Betsey Glans, Program Assistant

Undergraduate Research Assistant

  • Charles Tebbutt

Office Assistant

  • Lila Quintiliani

Part-time Assistants

Wendy Abraham, Joanne Bauer, Chen Yi, Shyh-Ji Chew, Kenneth Hao, Monique Holt, Jiang Qing-guo, Wendy Locks, Hsiao-Li Pan, Theresa Rice, Sarah Sills, Su Ye, Wang Yixun, Shu-li T. Wu


The Center is grateful to the following organizations and individuals for general support, program grants, and contributions received in 1986 – 87:

  • Capital Campaign and Endowment
  • The Ford Foundation
  • Walter and Esther Hewlett
  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • The Starr Foundation

Support Grants and Contributions

  • ARCO
  • ARCO Foundation
  • Asian Cultural Council
  • Elizabeth Brown Barnes
  • Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Chan
  • Chou Wen-chung
  • J. Edward Corn, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Faber
  • H. J. Heinz Company Foundation
  • ITT Corporation
  • Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation
  • W. B. McKeown
  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation
  • Mr. and Mrs. George D. O’Neill
  • United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia
  • Wolcott Builders

The Center thanks the following organizations and individuals for contributions of materials, services, and hospitality that enriched its 1986-87 programs:

  • Robert M. Abramson
  • Albany Symphony Orchestra
  • American Federation of Musicians
  • American Symphony Orchestra League
  • Ann Arbor Public Schools
  • Mack School
  • Appollo High School
  • ARCO
  • Arts Center of Minnesota
  • Arts in General Education, New York City Board of Education
  • Arts Reporting Service
  • Asian Cultural Council
  • The Asia Society
  • Terry L. Baker
  • Ballet Society
  • Elizabeth Barnes
  • Stanley Bednar
  • Joseph Bloch
  • Bloomingdale House of Music
  • Sarah Boslaugh
  • Boston Children’s Museum
  • Ernest L. Boyer
  • Boy’s Harbor
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  • Burson-Marsteller
  • Hortense Calisher
  • Barbara and Fred Carlisle
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Group Sales Office
  • “CBS Morning News”
  • CBS News, New York
  • Mrs. Peilan Chan
  • Chen Yi
  • Children’s House Montessori
  • Chinese Culture Center
  • Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Scheil Primary School for Arts Enrichment
  • Clarkston Community Schools
  • Cloud State University Media Center
  • Kiehle Visual Arts Center
  • Cold Spring Elementary School
  • Dori Collazo-Baker
  • Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School
  • Columbia University Arts Administration Program
  • Columbia University Music Library
  • C. V. Starr East Asian Library
  • Columbia University Teachers College
  • Translation Center
  • Concert Artists Guild
  • Brian Coogan
  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Foundation
  • The Curtis Institute of Music
  • Ana R. Daniel
  • Lyle Davidson
  • Detroit Public Schools
  • Cheryl Dickson
  • Dowden Communications
  • Duke Ellington School of the Arts
  • East Lansing Public Schools, Bailey School
  • East Lansing Public Schools, Haslett Middle School
  • East Lansing Public Schools, Kinawa Middle School
  • East Lansing Public Schools, Okemo High School
  • John Eaton School
  • Eberwhite Elementary School
  • Fillmore Arts Center
  • Finley Photographies, Inc.
  • Fleisher Library
  • Fox Elementary School
  • The Getty Center for Education in the Arts
  • The Getty Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts
  • The Getty Museum
  • The Governor’s Award
  • Betty-Jo Greenberger
  • Lee Gutteter
  • Ambassador Han Xu
  • Curtis Harnack
  • University of Hartford Hartt School of Music
  • Harvard University
  • Harvard University, Adam’s House
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Harvard Project Zero
  • Harvard University, Wu Hong
  • The Hefner Galleries
  • Henry Street Settlement
  • Carma Hinton
  • Hofstra University
  • School of Education
  • Robert D. Hormats
  • Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Interlochen Arts Academy
  • International Theatre Institute
  • The Juilliard School
  • Fredric Kaplan
  • Frank Kehl
  • The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
  • Education Department
  • Jeffrey C. Kinkley
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts
  • Lawrence Public Schools Department of Music and Arts
  • Robert A. Levinson
  • Ambassador Li Luye
  • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
  • Lincoln Center Library and Museum for the Performing Arts
  • The Los Angeles Music Center
  • Kwong Lum
  • Bruce MacCombie
  • Macomb Intermediate School District
  • “The MacNeill/Lehrer Report”
  • Samuel Magdoff
  • John Mahlmann
  • Mamaroneck Public Schools
  • Manhattan School of Music
  • Margun Music, Inc.
  • Ma Shui-Long
  • Merrill Lynch Capital Markets
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Metropolitan Opera
  • Metropolitan Opera Guild
  • Miami University Art Department
  • Miami University Museum
  • John and Betty Michael
  • Michigan Department of Education
  • Michigan State University Asian Studies Center
  • Michigan State University Center for International Programs
  • Michigan State University Music Department
  • Wharton Center
  • The University of Michigan School of Music
  • Governor’s Commission on China
  • Midwest China Center
  • Minneapolis Institute of the Arts
  • Minnesota Arts High School
  • The University of Minnesota
  • Minnesota Expressive Arts Camp
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • National Art Education Association
  • National Theatre of the Deaf
  • New York Public Library Music Division
  • 92nd Street Y Education Department
  • Oak Hills Schools, Bridgetown Junior High School
  • Oak Hills Schools, C. O. Harrison Elementary School
  • Oak Hills Schools, Delhi Junior High School
  • Oak Hills Schools, John Foster Dulles Elementary
  • Oak Hills Board of Education
  • Oak Hills High School
  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Beijing Representative Office
  • State of Ohio Department of Education
  • State Teachers Retirement Board of Ohio
  • Eugene O’Neill Theater Center
  • Pacific Asia Museum
  • Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations
  • Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Public School 84
  • Public School 87
  • Public School 19
  • Public School 75
  • Ralph Raunft
  • Don and Elsie Ritzenheim
  • Rocari High School
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • San Francisco Symphony
  • Mr. and Mrs. Phil Schriver
  • Bright Sheng
  • The Shubert Organization, Inc.
  • Sidwell Friends Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools
  • Slauson Intermediate School
  • Richard Solomon
  • Lou Stovall
  • Talwanda Schools, Heritage Hill Elementary School
  • Talwanda Schools, Lakota High School
  • Talwanda Schools, McGuffey Elementary School
  • Talwanda Schools, Princeton High School
  • Sarina Tang
  • Third Street Music School
  • “The Today Show”
  • Francesca Torregrossa
  • Tufts University, Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study
  • Mr. and Mrs. William Tyrell
  • United Nations International School
  • Urban Center for Talented Youth
  • C. C. Wang
  • Elton Warren
  • Wayne State University
  • West Bloomfield Public Schools, Abbott Middle School
  • West Bloomfield Public Schools, District Media Center
  • West Bloomfield Public Schools, Green Elementary School
  • West Bloomfield Public Schools, Orchard Lake Middle School
  • West Bloomfield Public Schools, Roosevelt Elementary School
  • West Hartford Public Schools, Bugbee Elementary School
  • West Hartford Public Schools, Charter Oak School
  • West Hartford Public Schools, Conard High School
  • West Hartford Public Schools, Hall High School
  • West Hartford Public Schools, King Philip Elementary School
  • Dr. and Mrs. Jack Williams
  • WNBC-TV, New York
  • Clyde and Helen Ching-Hung Wu
  • Zhou Long

The Center is indebted to the following individuals for special assistance during the past year:

  • Sumin Chou
  • Yi-an Chou
  • Lonna B. Jones
  • Frederick H. Knubel
  • Judith L. Leynse
  • Kathryn Lowry
  • Joe Pineiro
  • Tracy Riese
  • Larry E. Snoddon
  • Robert Stone
  • Karen Strauss
  • Robert Towers
  • Michelle Vosper
  • Constance Wolf
  • Charles Wu

  • Editors: Susan L. Rhodes and Sandra Lopen
  • Assistant Editor: Dru E. Finley
  • Layout and Design: Oscar Smith

The Center for US-China Arts Exchange
Columbia University

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