Shanghai Conservatory of Music

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Shanghai Conservatory of Music
One building of the middle/elementary school division of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music

The Shanghai Conservatory of Music (上海音乐学院, Shànghǎi Yīnyuè Xuéyuàn), as the first music institution of higher education in China, was founded on November 27, 1927. The teachers and students have won numerous awards both home and abroad, thus earning the conservatory the name, “the cradle of musicians”.



The Shanghai Conservatory of Music is a music institute famous both at home and abroad. It grew out of the Shanghai National Conservatory of Music, which was established by Mr. Cai Yuanpei on November 27, 1927. Dr. Xiao Youmei (Shio Yiu-mei) was the director of the new school and curriculum. His teachings were based on the Leipzig Conservatory of Music, where he graduated. It was one of the first institutions of higher learning of modern music in China. It was considered the premiere institution for western music learning. Professors came from as far as Russia and France.

It was renamed several times: National Training School of Music (1929), Branch of National Conservatory of Music (1943), Shanghai National Training School of Music (1945), Shanghai and Huadong Branches of Chinese Conservatory of Music (early 1950s). It received its current name in 1956.


The Shanghai Conservatory of Music consists of thirteen departments. It involves six disciplines and twenty-three sub-disciplines, some traditional, the others newly-developed.

The conservatory supports a high-level music research institute, a specialized music library with a large collection, a first-class museum of oriental instruments, and a unique music publishing house.

A six-year secondary school and a three-year elementary section were established separately in 1953 and 1956 to prepare better candidates for tertiary education, thus forming a self-contained system with a complete curriculum of music and academic education.

Three art centers integrate teaching, performing and scientific research: Zhou Xiaoyan International Opera Center, International String Academy, and International Piano Art Center. The Conservatory has established six performing groups: Symphony Orchestra of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, New Ensemble, String Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, National Music Orchestra and Choir.

Shanghai Conservatory of Music maintains close relationships with many first-class conservatories and famous musicians, including collaborations with schools in the USA, France, UK, Russia, Netherlands, Australia, Austria, Germany and Japan. Many internationally well-known musicians such as Stern, Perlman, Yuri Shishkin [1], Leon Fleisher, Zukerman, Seiji Ozawa, Simon Rattle, Rostropovich, and Yo-Yo Ma have served as honorary or guest professors.

Faculty and student body

The Conservatory has 50 professors and 120 associate professors. There are approximately 1,200 students.

Notable alumni

Further information


  • Shen, Sinyan. Chinese Music in the 20th Century (Chinese Music Monograph Series). 2001. Chinese Music Society of North America Press. ISBN 1-880464-04-7.