Organization at UO to Celebrate Chinese Culture

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

Correction (published Oct. 1, 2010): A performance of Chinese opera celebrating the opening of the new Confucius Institute at the University of Oregon takes place at 7:30 p.m. today at the UO's Robinson Theatre, not in Gerlinger Hall as stated in a story in Thursday's Arts section. The story also misstated the affiliation of the institute's co-director, Dai Lan; he works for East China Normal University in Shanghai, not Shanghai University. Also, the Confucius Institute is not a "branch" organization, its co-director at the UO says. Rather, Bryna Goodman says, it is "an independent institute" run as a partnership between UO, East China Normal University and the Chinese Language Council.

A new branch of the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-sponsored program to promote understanding of Chinese language and culture, will celebrate its opening with a number of cultural events in the coming week at the University of Oregon.

The institute being opened on campus is one of more than 300 similar institutes operating worldwide, including more than 50 at other U.S. universities. It's a partnership between the UO, the Chinese Language Council and the East China Normal University in Shanghai.

"The Confucius Institute will work to connect China interests and specialists across campus," says Bryna Goodman, who is executive director of the institute as well as director of the UO's Asian Studies program and a professor of Chinese history.

The new institute will help bring China-related events to campus and the community, she said.

The top draw this week will be Friday evening's opening festivities, at which arias and instrumental music from traditional Kunqu opera will be performed at Gerlinger Hall, 1484 University St. Kunqu, which flourished in the 16th to 18th centuries, is the most highly refined form of Chinese opera, Goodman says, and was nearly wiped out during the Cultural Revolution.

In 2012 the institute will help present a different kind of opera. The institute will collaborate with Eugene Opera, which is planning a production of contemporary American composer John Adams' "Nixon in China." The institute plans to mount a photo exhibit about the former president's visit to China and to host presentations about that event.

Worldwide, the Confucius Institutes are headquartered in Beijing, under the Office of Chinese Language Council International. …