2006-09-22

Tainan Tech

We're cranking up our new academic year at the Tainan Women's College of Arts & Technology, but there are some changes this time around. The most conspicuous: it's no longer the Tainan Women's College. It's the Tainan University of Technology now and it serves both male and female students.

A number of universities in Taiwan have been making the upgrade to university status. The jump is accompanied by increased funding, so it is no from the government. So it's no surprise that Tainan Tech is making improvements all over campus. The Music Department is getting a much-needed refurbishment and the new library is a delight. Everything feels crisp, bright, and open.

We are already seeing a jump in the number of male students, too. My conducting class consisted of twelve women last year; this year we have twelve women and four men. How much more this ratio will change is hard to predict, as the majority of music majors in Taiwan tend to be female anyway. We see this even in such specialties as conducting, percussion, and double bass, which in Western countries attract far more men.

The school retains the strong arts emphasis that has always distinguished it. The campus is still one big sculpture garden, though the landscapers have rearranged things a bit.

I will be working with choral conductors and chamber musicians again this year. To our recorder, woodwind and brass groups we're adding a chamber orchestra and ensembles consisting of electronic pianos. The electronic piano majors perform music in a variety of idioms, from Mozart symphony transcriptions to tangos and rhumbas. They, along with the chamber orchestra, are scheduled to debut in early December.

The changes are a lift for us. We're glad to get started.

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2006-09-11

she said: what is history?

And he said: History is an angel
being blown backwards into the future.


He said: History is a pile of debris
and the angel wants to go back and fix things
to repair the things that have been broken.
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
and the storm keeps blowing the angel
backwards into the future

And this storm, this storm
is called
Progress.



Laurie Anderson
Strange Angels: 'The Dream Before' (for Walter Benjamin)

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