Uniting Chinese Women Composers

November 27, 2012
Editor: Zhao Liangfeng

When Wang Qiang immigrated to Hong Kong in 1991, there was nothing else on her resume other than a studying and teaching stint at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

But 10 years later, she had become the founder of the Chinese Women Composers' Association, committing herself to raising the profile of women composers in the country.

Wang Qiang created the Chinese Women Composers' Association in 2002. [womenofchina.net]

Wang Qiang created the Chinese Women Composers' Association in 2002. [womenofchina.net]

Early Career

Wang was one of the first female composers when the People's Republic of China was first established. In 1947, she joined a military art troupe in east China's Shandong Province and in 1955, she began to study composing at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

While at university, Wang and her classmates composed the Happy River Cantata. In 1959, she won the golden prize at the composition contest of the seventh World Festival of Youth and Students.

After graduating, she stayed on at the conservatory to work as a teacher.

Success in Hong Kong

In 1991, she moved to Hong Kong. By then, she had become the oldest pioneering woman composer in China. Her works spanned a variety of musical genres, from classic music to modern music and even post-modern music.

But soon after she arrived in Hong Kong that year, she realized she had to start from zero. Despite her great achievements in mainland China, she now had to worry about things like paying her rent and covering the cost of her living expenses.

"At the time, I was teaching composing, theory of music and piano at a school, piano training center and even in students' homes," said Wang. "Anyway, I managed to settle down half a year later."

She started composing new music and reworked her Violin Concerto: To Hong Kong People.

"The social atmosphere in Hong Kong is free, diverse and inclusive," said Wang. "If you have talent, you will be allowed to explore new ways to express it."

Wang soon attracted the attention of local media when her compositions debuted in Sha Tin Town Hall. A report in a local newspaper extensively covered her work.

Soon after, she was invited to compose two pieces for a charity fund-raising concert.

"The Hong Kong Economic Times once described me as ‘having a second youth in music'," said Wang. "Indeed, my life is driven by the desire and passion to explore and compose music."

Ten years after she moved to Hong Kong, Wang founded the Chinese Women Composers' Association, with the aim of unifying Chinese female composers and raising their public profiles.

In the past decade, the association has organized 16 concerts. In 2012, Wang's association held a concert called ‘Our Dream 2012', summarizing the works that she and the association have created.

"We are full of hope and confidence for the future," said Wang.

(Source: cflac.org.cn/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)

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