Chou Wen-chung

Excerpts from “What is Happening to Music? Commodification or Creativity?”


Here are some of the statements on culture and creativity:

  1. The people must have ownership of their cultural legacy and resources.
  2. An assessment of the cultural impact should be included in development planning.
  3. Encourage creativity and innovation in all art forms founded on a thorough knowledge of one’s own heritage as well as a measured assimilation of ideas from other cultures.
  4. Cultural understanding should be recognized as a prerequisite for international collaboration.

We need help. The fact is that only we, ourselves, can help us.

Let me make four proposals now:

  1. We restore the meaning of “creativity” and recognize the cultural value and personal commitment of the “Renaissance” men and women of the Renaissance Age, and of the men and women of “letters” of the Age of Enlightenment — both of European tradition, and of the Chinese wenren or “persons in the arts” — a tradition spanning a millenium and resonating throughout East Asia, such as the bunjin in Japan; and of course similar designations in many other cultures.
  2. We recognize the significance, not of “globalization” but of “worldwide heritages,” and we recognize that the future of our creativity can only be successfully built on an increasing diversity in heritage.
  3. The future is in the hands of the young, and therefore we must be resolved that our educational system be reformed to benefit from the knowledge and practice learned from more and more heritages.
  4. At least in the U.S., we should acknowledge the fortrightness and selflessness of those men and women who established such well-known American traditions as the New Music Edition, Composers Recordings Inc., and the American Music Center. We should also recognize that in particular the International Composers Guild (established in 1921) was the very first composer’s organization in the world. We need to emulate the spirit of those who founded these exemplary institutions.
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