Why A Chinese Music Center In Middle Tennessee?
We are just outside of Nashville, and we are bringing the world of music to Music City.
About MTSU's Center for Chinese Music and Culture
The Center for Chinese Music and Culture (CCMC) at Middle Tennessee State University opened on March 17th, located on the first floor of the Miller Education Center at 503 Bell Street in Murfreesboro. The Center contains a musical instrument gallery, library, archives, and classrooms. The Center’s activities include exhibiting Chinese musical instruments; hosting visiting scholars and artists; presenting concerts, lectures, and workshops; teaching Chinese musical instruments and ensemble performance; and offering outreach school and community programs in the Middle Tennessee region.
How I got here - Director's Story
Confucius states in his Book of Music – Yue Ji – that all music rises from the human heart. Music has been in my heart – and in my life – for almost as long as I can remember.
I was born and raised in China. I started to study Chinese music at the age of 10 under now-legendary teachers. As a teenager I would travel to my teacher’s house by long-distance bus for several hours. On that bus, I would sit on a hard wooden bench protecting a basket of eggs on my lap that would pay for my lessons. I had no idea then how that music in my heart would change my life, and help me put music in the hearts of others I would meet all around the world.
After years of study, at age of 16 I was hired as a professional musician, and at 20 to become the soloist for my instrument at the top-touring troupe in Beijing. Since then, my performance career has taken me to dozens of countries on five continents. Along the way, I learned English, received two master’s degrees and, later, a Ph.D in ethnomusicology from UBC. My life’s path has taken me from place to place, from country to country.
Exploration, education and discovery have been at the heart of my life’s endeavors. Growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution, I had very limited knowledge and appreciation of my own culture. As an adult, I increasingly became fascinated with finding the roots of my music. My thirst for knowledge led me to North America to study Ethnomusicology. It was in the West where I truly discovered my passion for music — all forms of music: from Indonesian gamelan to African drumming, and from Bluegrass to free improvisation. I found that Chinese music and philosophy had influenced artists such as American composers John Cage and Lou Harrison. In the West, from the outside looking in, I began to see my musical culture from a new perspective, and this greatly deepened my appreciation of Chinese music.
This Center is not here to promote Chinese music; it is another cultural hub along the great Silk Road that connects people and cultures. The experience of learning about different cultures, and the opportunity to interact with people from those cultures, is a very powerful thing. It nurtures minds, deepens human connections, and sparks innovation; life becomes richer and more meaningful.