Department of Music: An Introduction

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The Department of Music was established in 1971 by Dr. Juanelva Rose (羅芳華), an American missionary. From the beginning, our curriculum was modeled after those of some of the most highly acclaimed schools of music in the United States. In order to further nurture musical talent, a Master of Arts degree program was added under the leadership of Dr. Tzong-kai Kuo (郭宗愷) in 1992. We now have over 1,500 graduates with careers throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States. 

 

Our department is designed to train young musicians as performers, scholars, and teachers. Degree majors in piano, voice, wind instruments, percussion, electronic organ, and composition are offered to both undergraudate and graduate students. Majors in conducting (both choral and instrumental) and music therapy are available to graduate students. Undergraduates are provided with a thorough musical foundation in music theory, sight-singing and ear-training, music history, and pedagogy. Other required courses are designed to educate students in their respective major fields. For example, all undergraduate voice majors are required to take English, French, German, and Italian diction as well as courses in art song and opera. Undergraduate and graduate performance majors are also required to take music literature courses in their major fields of study. 

 

Current enrollment is at approximately 220, with students from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Korea. In order to further encourage an international environment, our department maintains relations with universities in China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and the United States. We also frequently invite teachers from some of the best schools in the world to teach and perform at our department. For the past three years, Scott Piper, a world-renowned tenor and professor at University of Michigan, has taught at our department as an Overseas Scholar. During his month-long visits, he has taught various vocal courses, private lessons, and has performed in our opera productions and as a recital soloist. 

 

Scott Piper (center) in our departmental performance of Verdi's La Traviata

 

Many other internationally acclaimed artists and teachers, including pianist Ching-Yun Hu (胡瀞云) and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, have visited Tunghai to conduct masterclasses, teach students on a private basis, or perform recitals. The music department has also held numerous international music festivals, conferences and workshops over the years, inviting artists and teachers from China, Europe, and the United States. 

 

Ching-Yun Hu, Piano Recital

 

The music department presently has 15 full-time teachers and 73 part-time teachers from Taiwan, the United States, Japan, and Belarus. Most of our full-time faculty members hold doctoral degrees from institutions in the United States or Europe. Our teachers have performed and taught at universities in China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and the United States. Some of our teachers have also served on the faculties of summer music festivals in China, Europe, and the United States.

 

Our department has among the best music facilities in Taiwan. Our recital hall, which seats 250 people, has the best acoustics of any hall in central Taiwan and is equipped with two Steinway grand pianos. We also have rehearsal rooms for both large and small ensembles, two large classrooms, a piano lab, 18 teaching studios, and 42 student practice rooms. Thanks to the generous donations of our patrons, the pianos in the teaching studios and practice rooms are in excellent condition and most have been purchased within the past few years. 

 

In order to adapt to a changing world, our department is exploring new areas of study. Our new master's program in music therapy, one of the first of its kind in Taiwan, provides an alternative to performance by combining music with psychology-related subjects. Since our campus is situated between two major hospitals, our music department is ideally located for this new program. 

 

As a department of music in the 21st century, we are committed to both preserving the valued tradition of Western art music and making new options available for our students. Our goal as a department is to ensure that our students have the knowledge, insight, and capability to thrive in the competitive musical environments in Taiwan and abroad. Our emphasis on providing students with a thorough musical education has produced positive results. Many of our undergraduates have elected to continue their education at Tunghai in our graduate program. Others have earned advanced degrees from institutions such as Julliard, Indiana University, Eastman, Peabody, New England, Berlin Hochschule, Hanover Hochschule, and London's Royal Academy. Furthermore, a large number of our graduates now hold distinguished careers in a wide variety of musical professions (see Outstanding Alumni). Our programs are more demanding than those found in many music departments throughout the island but by challenging our students to do their best, we endow them with a rewarding and beneficial musical experience.

 

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