SHANDE DING (1911 - 1995)
The Chinese composer Ding Shande was born in 1911 in Kunshan, Jiangsu. In his childhood he took an interest in music and studied traditional Chinese instruments, including the pipa. In 1928 he entered the preparatory course of the Shanghai School of Music, where he studied the pipa under Zhu Ying. He later transferred to the piano department and attended the classes of the famous Russian teacher Borodin Zakharov. He have his graduation piano recital in 1935 and was appointed piano professor at Tianjin Women’s Normal College. After the outbreak of the War of Resistance against Japan, he returned to the Shanghai School of Music to teach the piano. He also set up the Shanghai Music Centre, of which he was director. In the 1940s he turned his attention to composition and in 1947 travelled to France, where he entered the Paris Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique, studying conterpoint, fugue and other compositional techniques. At the same time he pursued advanced courses under Honegger and Nadia Boulanger. After graduation in 1949 he returned to shanghai to work at the School of Music, now the Shanghai Conservatory. There he has held the successive positions of dean of the Composition Department and vice-president of the conservatory. He has served as a jury member of various international piano competitions and attended many international academic conferences on music. In the mid-1980s he resigned his administrative position, but remains vice-chairman of the China Musicians’ Association and honorary chairman of the Shanghai Musicians’ Association. His important compositions include Long March, New China Symphonic Suite, Spring Symphonic Poem, Symphonic Overture, Piano Concerto in B flat major, String Quartet in E minor, Piano Trio in C major, the cantata Ode to the Huangpu River, a large number of piano pieces, including Variations on Themes of Chinese Folk-songs, a children’s piano suite Happy Festival, Xinjiang Dances Nos. 1 and 2, and art-songs such as Blue Mist, My Husband gives Me a Sunflower, Ode to Orange. He has also written theoretical works, including Exploration of Compositional Technique.