New Music Faculty Appointment
College of Music strengthens Chinese cultural exchange through new Shanghai connections.
The recent appointment of an educator and artist from the Chinese mainland to the MSU College of Music faculty underscores the growing connections between the College and two renowned institutions in Shanghai.
Haobing Zhu, an assistant professor at the Music College of Shanghai Normal University, began Fall Semester 2015 as an adjunct assistant professor at MSU. Her focus includes fostering international and cultural exchanges between MSU, Shanghai Normal and the renowned Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
“I feel extremely honored and grateful for the trust MSU has placed in me,” says Zhu. “I would like to contribute as much as I can.”
A graduate of both the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, Zhu earned the doctor of musical arts degree at MSU in 2014 with Professor Deborah Moriarty, chair of the piano area.
“Haobing has been a person who has facilitated connections in the music world in both China and in the United States,” says College of Music Dean James Forger. “She possesses an invaluable talent to open doors, bridge cultural divides, and to foster relationships that increase understanding and opportunities among students, faculty and artists across continents.”
A track that allows qualified Chinese students from Shanghai Normal to earn their master’s degree from the College of Music is among the new programs between Shanghai and MSU. Another will enable students from other educational institutions in Shanghai to come to MSU for their master's degree. A Shanghai study abroad program for MSU students is under consideration, as well as increasing international performance opportunities at concert halls, festivals and theatres in Shanghai. Another increasing area of focus includes the exchange of faculty for academic research and discussion on teaching.
Cynthia Taggart, professor of music education, recently traveled to Shanghai, representing the first non-musical performance unit involved in the exchange. Taggart joined colleague Mitch Robinson, associate professor of education and chair of the Music Education area, in a six-day trip to share and compare notes on the value of K-12 education with counterparts at Shanghai Normal and the Shanghai Conservatory.
“We hope to bring some of their faculty and students to MSU in the future so that our community can interact with them and we can continue to learn from one another,” Taggart says. “We would love to show them what is happening in the schools in the U.S. and to learn how this is the same and different from what happens in China.”
While the Shanghai programs will enable the College to forge new and expansive opportunities, Forger remarks the College’s China connection dates back most recently to the decade-old MSU-China vocal exchange program initiated by Richard Fracker, professor of voice, and his former Metropolitan Opera colleague, Haijing Fu.
“We’ve had talented students from China enroll in our College as a result of this program, and it has been an invaluable learning experience for our vocal arts students over the years,” Forger says. “We look forward to deepening our international relationships through creative and scholarly activities, including those in China.”