Doctoral student, Runkun Li, completes Jazz Tour of China
calendar icon23 Jul 2018
Someone like Glenn Korff School of Music Doctoral student Runkun Li is rare in his home country of China. And what he did recently is also a testament to it -- completing a two-week Jazz Tour of China.
“I am one of the rare China-born Chinese who are approaching the Doctoral degree in Jazz Studies,” Li said of his major at the University of Nebraska. “So, my people give me a lot of credit. Jazz is really new to the Chinese. However, the jazz market is growing fast, especially in big cities in China.”
Li went to three provinces (Sichuan, Shanxi, and Liaoning) to perform and host some master classes. In Sichuan province, he was invited by the Sichuan Conservatory of the Music (a top music school in China), C-POP Music School and the TG House Jazz Club. Then, he was invited by Xian Conservatory of the Music (another top music school in China), and the Meeting Jazz Club in Shanxi province. In Liaoning province, he was invited by Dalian University, Dalian Theatre, and Dalian Kaifa District Theatre.
“Totally, I had a successful tour,” Li said. “They all gave me a very positive response.”
As a GKSOM student, he let everyone know more about his professors Dr. Paul Haar (Saxophone Performance), professor Tom Larson (Jazz Composition as his minor), the Glenn Korff School of Music and the Jazz Studies program at Nebraska. His China tour was reported by China News, Ban Dao Morning News, and Dalian TV-7 (be sure to click the translate button).
“I knew some Chinese jazz educators when I was a jazz conductor of Shen Yang Conservatory of the Music,” Li said. “Since I received the offer from Nebraska last year, more schools invited me to come there to play music and give some master classes. Last year, I was formally invited by Jilin University of the Arts, Shen Yang Conservatory of the Music, Ning Xia University and the Xinjiang University of the Arts. Since I studied one year at Nebraska, I felt I should keep this tradition. So, I explored more opportunities (colleges, jazz clubs and theatres) to play jazz this summer in China.”
He worked with many people who are from different countries and different areas of China during this China tour. One, from China, is a jazz guitar professor from Xin Jiang University of the Arts. Another is a Chinese jazz piano professor from Jilin University of the Arts. One is an American and is a jazz drum professor from Si Chuan Conservatory of the Music. One is Australian and is a jazz bass professor from SCM too. One Mauritian jazz bass player is from Shang Hai City (he is playing in SH). One Chinese drummer is from Xi An City. One Chinese Bass player is also from Xi An City.
“The colleges students and jazz club audiences really like my music and my playing,” he said. “In theaters, it is kind of new to some audiences. I will arrange more jazz versions of Chinese folk tunes to fit that market for next time, so, they can feel more familiar to the music.”