Alexander Tcherepnin's Musical Footprint in Twentieth-Century China

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Maguire, Gretta
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Middle Tennessee State University
In April 1934, Soviet modernist composer and pianist Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977) visited China during a world tour meant to stretch from Japan to Palestine. After falling in love with Chinese music, Tcherepnin cancelled the rest of his tour outside of the East Asia and returned to China, spending two years as a teacher, composer, publisher, and concertizer. This thesis examines Tcherepnin's impact of Chinese musical identity and education. Chapter One provides a review of the literature used in this thesis. Chapter Two describes the historical and political environment in China at the time of Tcherepnin’s visits, including an examination of the Shanghai Conservatory. Chapter Three establishes Tcherepnin's musical upbringing and philosophy, including his interest in national and folk music and his international musical perspective. Chapter Four discusses his efforts in China, including his composition competition, publishing company, and relationships with Chinese educators and composers. Chapter Five discusses limitations on Tcherepnin’s impact and the various factors that mitigated it following his departure. I conclude that Tcherepnin's influence was affected by a complex collection of political and social factors of the twentieth century, not the least of which was the disconnect between Tcherepnin’s Chinese music and that of his students and peers.
Alexander Tcherepnin, Contemporary Chinese music history, Music history