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Two Leading, West Coast Music Schools Appear at Inaugural Asia-Pacific Music Summit in Sydney, Australia

Related: Inaugural Asia-Pacific Music Summit
Two Leading, West Coast Music Schools Appear at Inaugural Asia-Pacific Music Summit in Sydney, Australia

Two of the leading music schools from the West Coast, the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, represented the United States last week at the inaugural Asia-Pacific Music Summit. The four-day event took place April 2-5 in Sydney, Australia, and included leading music schools from Asia and the Pacific. To create closer ties between the institutions and build the region as a driving force of music education and culture, summit representatives established a new Pacific Alliance of Music Schools (PAMS).

"I could not be more pleased to be able to spend quality time with these Pacific Rim music leaders," said Robert Cutietta, dean of the USC Thornton School of Music. "Our discussions about the future of classical music, and music in general, have been very stimulating."

"This inaugural conference is an outstanding beginning to an important alliance of the finest music schools on the Pacific Rim," said David H. Stull, president of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. "Global interchange is the future of music and education. I am tremendously enthusiastic about the potential of this initiative."

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney and Beijing Central Conservatory of Music hosted the summit, which included leaders of preeminent music institutions from China, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

While collaborations have existed for some time between many institutions in the region, the summit marked the first gathering of deans and presidents of the partner schools. During the summit, participants agreed to form a new Pacific Alliance of Music Schools (PAMS), solidifying their affiliation with an annual convention hosted by a member of PAMS.

Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Dean Karl Kramer described the conference as "a unique opportunity to meet face to face with our peers from the region's top conservatoriums and discuss best practices in music education and performance."

"While we all assume the Western music tradition of teaching, each institution is mutually exclusive in terms of how it operates. We are 12 unique case studies, each with different expertise to share. The summit is a starting point to forming stronger human connections between the institutions to encourage greater and more regular dialogue across the region," said Kramer.

The summit comes at a time when countries such as China are experiencing a major boom in classical music, and where the audiences are generally much younger than those in America and Europe.

Beijing Central Conservatory of Music's President Wang Cizhao said: "The purpose of holding this summit is to strengthen the inter-conservatory exchange and collaboration more widely, so that the resources in the Asia-Pacific region can be integrated and we can work together on promoting international music education."

"The inter-conservatory exchange will become a vital part of running a conservatory with the international development of music education across all countries. Through this summit, delegates can air their views on shared problems. Though each conservatory has its own cultural background and historical traditions, they will surely complement one another when facing a shared teaching problem," said Cizhao.

Over the course of four days, leaders discussed course programs, student exchanges, industry collaborations, funding models and performance platforms. On April 5, a group of 35 students from Beijing, Shanghai, Melbourne and Sydney presented a recital to celebrate the summit's finale that featured premieres of two works composed by summit delegates professor Barry Conyngham from Melbourne and professor Xu Shuya from Shanghai.

The Pacific Alliance of Music Schools (PAMS) includes:

  • Beijing Central Conservatory of Music
  • Faculty of Victorian College of Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
  • Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • School of Music, Taipei National University of the Arts
  • School of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts
  • School Of Music, University of Auckland
  • Shanghai Conservatory of Music
  • Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney
  • Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California
  • Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore
  • The College of Music, Seoul National University (absent from Sydney summit)

About the USC Thornton School of Music: For more than 125 years, the USC Thornton School of Music has prepared students to excel as performers, composers, industry leaders and educators on stages and in studios around the world. Founded in 1884 and today the oldest continually operating cultural institution in Los Angeles, USC Thornton is internationally recognized as one of the finest conservatories and music schools in the U.S.

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