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Music education from Vienna for young talents in China

In early September, Ernst Woller, the First President of the Vienna State Parliament, along with Rector Marcus Ratka and Concert and Culture Manager Jian Wang, visited cultural institutions in China, specifically the cities of Shanghai and Suzhou. They engaged in numerous discussions regarding cultural exchanges between China and Vienna.

The focal point of their visit was the inauguration of the "Chinese Talent Development Base" at VIENNA JAM MUSIC LAB UNIVERSITY, located at the Zhang-Jia-Gang Foreign Language School in Suzhou. This school serves approximately 7,000 children and teenagers, with a focus on language, music, and art education.

This collaborative project between China and Vienna in the field of music education entails nurturing and training young talents at the Zhang-Jia-Gang Foreign Language School in the domains of media and popular music. Over the upcoming years, it will involve a vibrant exchange of guest lecturers from Vienna and students from China. The aim is to expand beyond classical music education in China, which has already seen successful cooperation with the Johann Sebastian Bach Music School in Vienna, by incorporating jazz, pop, rock, film music, game music, and other contemporary music forms.

Ernst Woller, the President of the Vienna State Parliament, expressed his enthusiasm for this cultural exchange, stating, "Vienna is internationally renowned and esteemed as a city of music and culture. China also has a rich cultural tradition, offering substantial potential for collaboration and exchange. Presently, there are many Chinese students and graduates at Vienna's three music universities. Partnerships like the one just established in Suzhou are intended to further develop sustainable cultural exchanges with China and strengthen Vienna's cultural competence."

The formal inauguration of this new collaboration took place on September 4, 2023, under the patronage of the City of Vienna, represented by President of the Vienna State Parliament Ernst Woller. High-ranking representatives from the Zhang-Jia-Gang Foreign Language School enthusiastically welcomed this initiative, seeing it as an expansion of existing musical, cultural, and economic connections between Vienna and China. The economically vibrant Greater Shanghai region is home to 235 million people, and the demand for cultural offerings has been rapidly growing in recent years. More than 200 new concert halls, opera houses, and theaters have been built since 2010. Vienna's expertise in music education, music production, and arts management aims to contribute to the sustainable development of these newly created cultural offerings in the music and cultural sector in China. Ongoing collaborations between the City of Vienna, including the Vienna Music Film Festival, and other Viennese cultural institutions are in the works.

Rector Marcus Ratka remarked, "We view it as a challenge, a special responsibility, and a great opportunity to share our globally respected expertise in music education beyond our national borders. The tradition of music students from all over the world coming to Vienna to learn from the best is long-standing. Now, as we increasingly create opportunities for educators to enhance their skills and knowledge in partner countries, it will also enrich our own horizons. Within the 'Chinese Talent Development Base' in Suzhou, we aim to portray Vienna as a music city that nurtures and connects exceptional talents in jazz, pop, rock, film music, and music production with international partners in the present moment."

Authored on September 29th, 2023