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Prince loans out Xi's guzheng gift

By ANGUS MCNEICE | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-03-17 19:23

An unmistakable Chinese sound filled the concert hall during the annual visit of Prince Charles to London's Royal College of Music last week.

Prince loans out Xi's guzheng gift

On a visit to the Royal College of Music, London, Prince Charles listens to a performance on the guzheng given to him during President Xi Jinping's state visit to the UK in 2015.  

Marking a quarter of a century as Royal College of Music president, the heir to the British throne had brought with him a rare 21-string guzheng, also known as a Chinese zither, that President Xi Jinping had given him during Xi's state visit to the United Kingdom in 2015.

Prince Charles has now loaned the instrument to the RCM and it will join the college's collection of "extraordinary instruments" that includes the earliest-dated guitar from the 16th century, the earliest known stringed keyboard instrument from the 15th century, and a collection of 17th century English viols.

Xiao Ran, a guzheng virtuoso from the Xi'an Conservatory of Music, China, played Chinese classic Evening Song from the Fishing Boat on the instrument that the prince donated.

Xi gave the guzheng to Prince Charles during a visit to Clarence House, the prince's London residence, in October 2015 in thanks for his efforts in the "preservation of Chinese culture".

With a 2,500-year history, the guzheng is one of China's oldest instruments, and is still widely played in Chinese classical arrangements. The instrument has also made sporadic appearances in Western music.

A statement from the RCM said the loan was "especially fitting" because the college recently signed an agreement with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music to establish a new joint-institute in China, the first such partnership of any British music conservatory.

RCM director Colin Lawson said: "This new relationship will enable aspiring music students in Shanghai to benefit from the rich musical heritage of the RCM."

Lin Zaiyong, president of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, said the RCM was well placed to provide the conservatory with some of the most advanced ideas and resources available in musical education.

During the next three years, the new institute in Shanghai will run an education program for musically gifted high school students in China, and offer exchange opportunities for Royal College of Music and Shanghai Conservatory of Music students and faculty.


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