Colorado State University’s Partnership with East China Normal University Flourishes Through Music

Colorado State University brings a musical focus to its partnership with East China Normal University (ECNU). Located in Shanghai, ECNU has partnered with CSU on a number of important initiatives including remote sensing research and student exchange.

The partnership between CSU and ECNU is now expanding in a new direction to include collaboration between music departments. The new partnership is being launched within the vocal area and extended plans include exchanges and joint performances with ECNU’s many fine pianists and instrumentalists.

Todd Queen, co-director of the School of the Arts and chair of Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, traveled to Shanghai in October 2009 as part of a CSU delegation.

During the trip, Queen sang alongside the ECNU opera director at the university’s anniversary celebration concert. The program, performed by student and faculty vocalists and an 80-piece student orchestra, included an overture written by ECNU’s resident composer. In addition to performing, Queen conducted vocal master classes with the ECNU students.

Students from both universities are interested in a variety of educational and cultural opportunities ranging from one-year study abroad programs to graduate degrees. Underscoring the importance of the partnership, Colorado State is hosting a contingency of ECNU students that will visit Fort Collins for East-West Week during the last week of April.

The visiting delegation will include 20 singers, two pianists and several faculty members. While at CSU during the week of April 27th, the ECNU musicians will attend a recital featuring Queen’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s “Songs of the Chinese,” and will also collaborate on a student recital featuring Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Waltzes” and various opera scenes. On April 30th and May 1st, the ECNU students will join the CSU Choirs and University Symphony Orchestra for two performances of Beethoven’s monumental “Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 ‘Choral.’”

“I can’t think of a more fitting work to perform with our friends from China than this symphony featuring the ‘Ode to Joy,’ celebrating the unity of mankind,” said Queen.

China is an area of strategic importance for CSU. In addition to further developing the collaboration with ECNU, the CSU delegation that visited in October also traveled to Beijing and Changsha for a series of meetings with government institutions and partner universities. The delegation included Rick Miranda, interim provost and executive vice president; James Cooney, vice provost for International Affairs; John Moore, director of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; Wei Gao, senior research scholar; and William Farland, vice president for Research.

“I want to thank President Tony Frank, Provost Rick Miranda and Dean Ann Gill for their support in this endeavor,” said Queen. “Our faculty anticipates further discussions about the exciting possibilities this presents our department.”

For more information on the partnership and the East-West Week events, visit