3 November 2011

On an official visit to China, last week, the Dean & Principal of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Professor Kim Walker, received an unexpected honour from the President of Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, Professor Wang Cizhao.

One of the hallmarks of Professor Walker's tenure as Dean, which she will complete at the end of 2011, has been a determination to build important partnerships with other top music education institutions in Europe and America and particularly in Asia.

As one of the world's leading bassoonists, Professor Walker has performed in China many times over the past twenty years. Since joining the Sydney Conservatorium as Dean in 2004, she has led many delegations to the leading Chinese conservatories, notably to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.

On this visit, Professor Walker was honoured when her Masterclass was opened by the President of the Beijing Conservatory, who spoke warmly of her exceptional contribution to the strong alliance between the Sydney and Beijing conservatories, as a firm foundation for future musical collaborations. Professor Wang said he and his colleagues wanted to recognise and honour Dean Walker's exceptional achievements by appointing her as a Distinguished Guest Professor at the Beijing Conservatory. He personally presented her with a handsome citation recording the honour and her appointment in Beijing.

Professor Walker said: "I always felt that one of the most exciting aspects of my coming to Sydney as Dean would be the opportunity to enhance musical bridges between Australia and China. In recent years, millions of Chinese musicians have embarked on a serious study of Western classical music, acquiring great skills and knowledge in the process. I look forward to the day when we in Australia show a similar regard for Chinese music. At The Con, we're delighted to have a small number of really outstanding Chinese musicians studying for PhD degrees in traditional Chinese music."

One of those musicians, Chai Chang-Ning, a celebrated exponent of the Chinese flute, was part of the delegation, together with The Con's Chair of Piano, Dr Paul Rickard-Ford, and International Development and Student Recruitment Manager, Steven Burns. The purpose of the visit was to maintain and extend the Sydney Conservatorium's relationships with the Shanghai Conservatory and its Middle School, the Beijing Central Conservatory and its Middle School, Minzu University in Beijing, and the Xi'An Conservatory. As a result, significant partnership agreements have been drafted with these organisations, all of whom have signified their wish to honour the tenure of Professor Walker as Dean by laying a solid foundation for future collaborations with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 1a5d322368262d23202b55453300084a4b081c2009600f5340630f30