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Sweet Sounds: The Extraordinary Life of Rulan Chao Pian

July 30, 2022 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

A renowned professor, scholar, and ethnomusicologist, Rulan Chao (later Rulan Chao Pian) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where at the time her father, the eminent linguist and composer Yuen Ren Chao, was a professor at Harvard. She spent most of her childhood in various cities in China as well as in Paris, returning to the U.S. at age 16. Pian started teaching Chinese at Harvard in 1947, providing language foundation for the early generation of American Sinologists. She received a Ph.D. from the university in 1960 with a dissertation on Song Dynasty Music, and, in 1974, was named tenured Professor in East Asian Languages and in Music, one of the first women to attain the professorial rank and the very first Chinese American woman professor at Harvard.

To mark the centennial anniversary of the birth of Prof. Rulan Chao Pian, the Renwen Society presents a lecture on July 30 by Dr. Bell Yung, Professor Emeritus of Music of the University of Pittsburgh and a former student of Prof. Rulan Chao Pian at Harvard. Dr. Yung will relate his mentor’s extraordinary life and work as well as their personal friendship.

Dr. Bell Yung’s family is from Wuxi, a city close to Changzhou, Rulan Chao Pian’s ancestral hometown in Jiangsu Province. He grew up in Hong Kong and went to the U.S. for higher education in 1960, leading to a Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one in Music from Harvard University. As an ethnomusicologist specializing in China, he had taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Washington, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University, University of California at Davis, and Cornell University. He has published ten books and over 100 journal articles, book chapters and reviews, in English and in Chinese, on various topics including the instrument guqin, Cantonese Opera, Cantonese Narrative Song, Ritual music, and cultural rights. His most recent book is the Chinese edition of his The Last of China’s Literati: The Music, Poetry, and Life of Tsar Teh-yun (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing, 2022).


赵如兰教授诞辰100周年之际,华美人文学会特邀匹兹堡大学音乐系荣休教授、赵如兰教授的得意弟子荣鸿曾 (Bell Yung) 博士于美东时间7月30日晚8时至9时半(北京时间7月31日上午8时至9时半做“芳音如兰—赵如兰的精彩一生”专题讲座,讲述老师不凡的人生故事和教研成就。





July 30, 2022
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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