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NTU Receives Donation to Establish Kunqu Opera Appreciation Program

National Taiwan University received a donation of NT$ 1 million from the Zhao Ting-Zhen Foundation (財團法人趙廷箴文教基金會) on April 30, 2014. In honor of its founding goal to promote traditional Chinese culture, the donation, which is to be issued over the course of three years to the College of Liberal Arts, will be put into the establishment of the “Pai Hsien-Yung Kunqu Opera Lectures” program (白先勇崑曲講座). According to foundation Chairman Yuan-Xiu Zhao (趙元修) and CEO Huai-Zhen Gu (辜懷箴), the purpose of the program is to enhance public interest in Chinese literature while also paying homage to Mr. Pai’s contributions to Chinese culture.

During the donation ceremony, NTU President Pan-Chyr Yang (楊泮池) was accompanied by Dean Jo-shui Chen (陳弱水) of the College of Liberal Arts, and Chair Ho-Yi Lin (林鶴宜) and Professor An-Chi Wang (王安祈) of the Department of Drama and Theatre in welcoming our guests, among which included the litterateur, Mr. Hsien-Yung Pai (白先勇). President Yang thanked the foundation for its generous donation while expressing his hopes that the program furthers NTU’s goal to becoming the global center for traditional Chinese education. Through the incorporation of multimedia and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), the lectures are also expected to attract international enrollment, enhancing NTU’s influence in the international arena.

Hsien-Yung Pai speaking at 2011 kunqu opera lecture hosted by NTU.
Hsien-Yung Pai speaking at 2011 kunqu opera lecture hosted by NTU.
(Image: NTU Library)

Hsien-Yung Pai is a renowned writer and alumnus of NTU’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literature. As a student, Pai was influenced by his Professor Tsi-An Hsia (夏濟安) and began publishing his work in Literary Review, a 1950s publication dedicated to Chinese literature during the authoritarian rule. Pai later collaborated with several of his classmates, including Wen-Xing Wang (王文興), Ruo-Xi Chen (陳若曦), and Tzu Ou-Yang (歐陽子) to launch Modern Literature, the influential journal that set off a wave of Modernism in Taiwan’s literary history. Pai’s work covers a wide array of genres, including novel, prose, and drama. He has also been involved in a number of theatre, movie, television, and kunqu opera productions. His most influential works include Taipei People and Crystal Boys, which was adapted into a film in 1986 and a TV series in 2003. In recent years, Pai has been devoted to preserving, promoting, and passing down kunqu opera so that new life can be breathed into this traditional Chinese art form.

The “Pai Hsien-Yung Kunqu Opera Lectures” is set to launch in the 2014 to 2015 school year where Chinese opera academics and professionals from both inside and outside Taiwan will be invited to give talks on the genre. All lectures will be filmed and made available online, and the program will feature a live kunqu opera performance.

Chinese version