MRI Forum 102: “François Ravary SJ and the Musical Culture of Mid-19th Century Shanghai”

 
 
Forum

Date:

  • Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Location:

  • Classroom USJ 106, University of Saint  Joseph, Macau (Ilha Verde Campus)

Cooperation Partner:

  • University of Saint Joseph

Video Record:

Time:

  • 18:30 to 20:30

Cost:

  • Free

Languages:

  • English

Sponsor:

  • Macao Foundation (澳門基金會)

Transportation Info:

 

Speaker

Forum

Prof. Dr. David Francis Urrows, MRI researcher

David Francis Urrows, historical musicologist and composer, studied at Brandeis University, the University of Edinburgh, and Boston University. Between 1989 and 2018 he taught at Hong Kong Baptist University, where he established The Pipe Organ in China Project (www.organcn.org). He has also taught at the University of Massachusetts, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and Eastern Mediterranean University. He is editor of the critical edition of the works of Otto Dresel (1826-90), and has also written on topics ranging from Hildegard of Bingen to nineteenth-century émigré studies to twentieth-century choral music to Andrew Lloyd Webber. His book Keys to the Kingdom: a history of the pipe organ in China was published in 2017 at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He is presently a research fellow of MRI, working on a study of François Ravary and an edition of his Shanghai letters.

 

 

Introduction

Much scholarly attention has been paid to the artistic accomplishments of Jesuit mission in China up to the time of the Rites Controversy of the eighteenth century. Not so much research has been conducted or published, however, on the work of the ‘New Company’ in this context from 1814 onwards.

This study focusses on the remarkable figure of François Ravary (1823-91) whose achievements, submerged from view for over a century, mark him out as one of the most creative missionary-musicians ever to come to China. From the second-earliest organ in China with bamboo pipes (1856), to the first brass band in China (1857), to China’s first publicly-performing Western orchestra (ca. 1865), Ravary led his colleagues to build a vibrant practice of music making, music education, music publishing, instrument building, and other ways and means of musical activity. A landscape of artistic and cultural exchange and interchange emerges from his life’s story, culled from unpublished letters, contemporary writings and ephemera, and neglected sources and documents.