Chinese instrument

Chinese instrumental performance

Understand Chinese music in a global context
Combine the study of Chinese music with all the benefits of an outstanding English-language education in musical inquiry.

Performance on traditional Chinese instruments encompasses the study of ancient works alongside contemporary compositions and collaborations.

What is Chinese instrumental performance?

Chinese instrumental performance looks to both the past and the future. It encompasses music of both the Han Chinese and diverse minority Chinese cultures. You will learn to play instruments that have a history stretching back millennia, and yet are refashioned in the modern era to accommodate today’s levels of technical and artistic brilliance. You will perform ancient works, as well as pieces that have been reinterpreted across generations, and compositions that are modern creations of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Applicants to this program will have the opportunity for musical creation through collaborations with performers from around the world.

At the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, we offer principal study tuition in historical vocal practices and historical instruments including:

  • Dizi 笛子 (horizontal bamboo flute)
  • Erhu 二胡 (two-string bowed fiddle)
  • Guzheng 古筝 (21-string zither)
  • Pipa 琵琶 (four-string plucked lute)
  • Yangqin 扬琴 (hammered dulcimer)
  • Zhongruan 中阮 (lower-pitched four-string plucked lute)

We are fast emerging as a vibrant centre for the study of Chinese traditional instruments in the English-speaking world, with an active Chinese Music Ensemble. Studying Chinese instrumental performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music provides a wealth of opportunities.

  • Hone your skills in solo repertoire and get individual training with both Australia-based and international experts in the field of Chinese traditional performance.
  • Attend masterclasses and workshops delivered by local and international artists.
  • Gain valuable chamber music training and experience through our Chinese Music Ensemble, which performs several varied concert programs each year.
  • Undertake a range of academic studies in Chinese music and ethnomusicology.
  • Participate in weekly undergraduate performance workshops offering constructive tutor and peer feedback.
  • Perform in our unique concert venues and record in our state-of-the-art recording studios.
  • Access unique collaborative musical opportunities through working with members of our musically diverse student and staff community.
  • Increase your ability to share the diverse musical traditions in many outreach projects, including various festival performances.
  • Explore mentorship and collaboration opportunities with international artists who practice in other disciplines.
  • Investigate the incorporation of digital musical technology in your musical practice through the contemporary music-making environment.
  • Reach and discover new frontiers of understanding about Chinese music in a global context.
  • Dr Lu Liu, Lecturer in Chinese Music Performance and Ethnomusicology
  • Dr Nicholas Ng, Casual Academic
  • Expert teachers on other instruments (by arrangement)
  • Nominated masters of all instruments with our partner conservatories in China (by special arrangement)

As a student specialising in Chinese instrumental performance, you will learn skills to become:

  • Professional instrumental soloist with an international perspective
  • Member of a world-class chamber and/or orchestral ensemble specialising in Chinese music performance
  • Member of a collaborative or intercultural music performance ensemble
  • Researcher in Chinese instrumental performance who can produce both traditional and non-traditional research outputs
  • Chinese instrumental performance educator at both pre-tertiary and tertiary levels
  • Musician who can initiate or participate in artistic exchange projects
  • Curator who can develop and organise your own or others’ concerts and musical events.

What are my study options with Chinese instrumental performance?