Dialogues in Music

The Dialogue Project (involving Africa and other regions of the world) was launched during the Second Biennial International Symposium and Festival on “Composition in Africa and the Diaspora” which took place at Churchill College, Cambridge in August 2003. Scholars, performers, and a composer, from China, Malaysia, Korea, and India took part in the event. The project received a boost in May/June 2004 when Akin Euba visited the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing to give lectures on the composers of Africa and the Diaspora. This was followed by a full-fledged symposium and festival hosted by the CCOM from 16-21 October 2005, whose themes were:

1. Dialogue between China and Africa

2. Halim El-Dabh Symposium

The event was attended by over 30 participants from China and over 27 from abroad. The program comprised scholarly papers, lectures, workshops, and live concerts. The concerts included Daolang Muqam of Xinjiang Province, Traditional Music of the Yunnan Minorities, Traditional Chinese Ensemble of Hebei Province, and a program of modern music for traditional instruments by Chinese composers. There was a special concert devoted to the music of Halim El-Dabh and another featuring piano music by composers of Africa and the Diaspora.

The president of the CCOM, Professor Wang Cizhao, addressed the Closing Ceremony. Comments received from participants who attended the Beijing symposium and festival testify to the brilliant success of the event.

The fourth Biennial International Symposium and Festival on “Composition in Africa and the Diaspora”, taking place at Churchill College, Cambridge from 1-4 August 2007, will feature special items titled “Africa Meets Asia” and “Africa Meets Latin America.”