He Luting

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He Luting (traditional: ; simplified: 绿; pinyin: Hè Lǜtīng; July 20, 1903 – April 27, 1999) was a Chinese composer of the early 20th century. He composed songs for Chinese films beginning in the 1930s, some of which remain popular.[1]

At the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, He won a contest in 1934, which was sponsored and judged by the Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin, for his composition Buffalo Boy's Flute (牧童短笛).[2]

His best-known compositions are "Song of the Four Seasons" (四季歌) and "The Wandering Songstress" (天涯歌女, with lyrics by Tian Han), both composed for the 1937 film Street Angel and sung by Zhou Xuan.[3] He also wrote the music for the patriotic song "Guerrillas' Song."

In September 1949 He was appointed director of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. 1966 saw the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, a fanatical movement meant to weed out "revisionism" and the remnants of "traditional" culture, and a wave of terror engulfed every sector of society. In the spirit of proletarian solidarity, "bourgeois" artists were subject to vicious public humiliation, and some chose suicide as a way out. An astonishing incident took place on Chinese television. He Luting, who had drawn fire from a proletarian-minded critic for defending the music of Claude Debussy, was subjected to a physically abusive interrogation but refused to apologize. "Your accusations are false!" he shouted. "Shame on you for lying!" Alex Ross stated that no composer had ever made a braver stand against totalitarianism.[4]

At the end of the Cultural Revolution, He Luting was able to return to his position as Director of the Shanghai Conservatory and allowed to travel overseas, visiting Australia in 1979.[5] In 1984 he retired from his position, retaining the title of honorary director. The main concert hall at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music is named after He.[6][7]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ Ross, Alex (2007). The Rest Is Noise: Listening To The Twentieth Century. Farrar, Straus and Girous. p. 518. ISBN 978-0-374-24939-7.
  5. ^ Whittington, Stephen (2015). "...from_a_thatched_hut_-_Exploring_Transcultural_Composition". Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2008-12-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2008-12-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

See also[edit]