Scotland’s National Conservatoire selected to host one of the world’s first specialist Confucius Classrooms

Published: September 19, 2017


The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been selected to host one of the world’s first specialist Confucius Classrooms.

Hanban, China’s national cultural organisation committed to providing language and cultural teaching resources and services worldwide, has recognised Scotland’s national conservatoire as a hub for creating opportunities for experiencing and sharing Chinese language, arts and culture.

The groundbreaking Confucius Classroom at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will be based in the Junior Conservatoire, which gives young people aged 11 to 18 their first taste of arts education. It is expected that the classroom will be in operation from the start of the 2018 academic year.

The Confucius Classroom announcement was made today (Tuesday, September 19) at the five-year anniversary conference of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS), attended by His Excellency Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom, and Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science. The Royal Conservatoire is one of four Scottish organisations to be chosen as a specialist institution, joining Scottish Opera, the Scottish Schools Football Association and the Royal Scottish Zoological Society at Edinburgh Zoo.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “As Scotland’s national conservatoire we are committed to opening minds, removing borders and challenging students of all ages and all backgrounds to learn and use the tools of communication to fullest effect – be that the spoken word, the written musical score or the language of self-expression. Having the opportunity to offer an insight into the diverse richness of Chinese culture into this environment is a welcome extension of this.

“Here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, we value our many positive personal and institutional relationships and welcome the opportunity to broaden and deepen them through opportunities afforded to us through the Confucius Classroom programme.”

Fhiona Mackay, Director of the Confucius Institute for Scottish Schools (CISS) said:

“As a world leading Model Institute, CISS is delighted to welcome the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland into its network as one of the first specialist Confucius Classrooms in the world. We are really excited to work with the Junior Conservatoire and look forward to years of innovative collaboration. Through this groundbreaking partnership, the children and young people of Scotland will be given the opportunity to learn about Chinese language and culture through the arts.”

Conference guests were welcomed to the event by the sound of the pipes from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s first ever Chinese bagpipe player, Cho-Lam Lee, who is in his third year of the BMus Traditional Music degree, the only Bachelor of Music programme dedicated to traditional and folk music in the UK.

When Cho-Lam first heard the sound of Scottish music as a seven year old in Hong Kong, it sparked what would become a lifelong passion for the pipes, a journey that would take him from practising in his bedroom in Hong Kong to studying at one of the world’s top three performing arts education institutions. It was always his dream to attend the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he could learn from the best and immerse himself in a city which he says is the piping capital of the world.

Cho-Lam Lee said: “I love the soul and energy of Celtic music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is the ideal, and only, place for me. The teachers are world-class experts.”

Cho-Lam has been invited to perform at an evening reception tonight (Tuesday) along with two musicians from the Junior Conservatoire. Violinist Ryan Chan, 9, and accordionist Robbie Kay-White, 12, will perform Czardas by Vittorio Monti.