25th International CHIME Conference

Barbarian Pipes and Strings Reconsidered — Negotiating Authenticity in the Musics of China: Transcultural Perspectives
01. – 04. October, 2023
Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS), Heidelberg

Exactly 25 years after the last International CHIME Conference in Heidelberg that focused on “Barbarian Pipes and Strings,” we return to the city by the Neckar and the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) that now houses the CHIME Collection to reconsider musical practices in China from a transcultural perspective.

From Confucian debates about the “musics from Zheng and Wei” ( 鄭衛之音) to more contemporary disputes on “lascivious musics” and “spiritual pollution”—Sunny Side Kong Yiji 阳光开朗孔乙己 just being one of the more recent examples—from controversies over ownership and copyright in old and new folksong or regional opera; to complaints about exoticism on the one hand and self-orientalism on the other: the question of how dangerous, strange or (in)authentic sounds and musics are and who “owns” them, has been important to music-making in China (or the sinophone worlds)—even while melodies, instruments and sounds from afar have, for the longest of times, been considered some of its most “typical” elements. In this conference, we will explore explore, how in different Chinese musical worlds “authenticity” has been claimed, contested and negotiated.

Organizing institutions:

  • The European Foundation for Chinese Music Research (CHIME)
  • The Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS)
  • The CATS Library
  • The Confucius Institute at Heidelberg University

Programme, abstracts and participants:

As is usual for CHIME conferences, the conference program will be accompanied by a variety of concerts, exhibitions [***], and film screenings—in the offing for you are a workshop on a new “Turandot” performed with Chinese puppets in the Museum of Ethnology and a sounding exhibit on the Silk Road. You will also be able to see an exhibit of that museum’s treasure grove of musical instruments from China (“Chinese Barbarian Pipes and Strings”), you will be able to witness a rethinking of Gustav Mahler’s use of Chinese poetry in Lied von der Erde, through the eyes of contemporary poets and composers, the sounds of the Zheng redeveloped in conversation with Raga percussion, You will hear traces of memory—from Book of Songs to Ukranian Poetry— reworked into music, we will be screening (and discussing) Wang Bing Man in Black and Ke Yongquan (et al.) The River in me, and there will be plenty of opportunities for musicking in jam sessions at the CATS.

Conference Programme

You may find the conference program here.


You may find all abstracts here.

List of participants

You may find all the list of participants here.


Registration is now open, you find the registration form here.

Programme Committee:

The Programme Committee for the Heidelberg conference consists of Barbara Mittler (CATS, Heidelberg), Frank Kouwenhoven (CHIME, The Netherlands), Odila Schröder (CATS, Heidelberg), LI Huan (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen), WANG Xidan (Music College of Zhengzhou University) and Petra Thiel (Confucius Institute, Heidelberg).

Abstracts / Participation:

The deadline for submitting abstracts has passed, but anyone interested in joining the meeting as a listener is very welcome. If you want to participate, please register here

Further information:

For further information, please consult:


There is a PODCAST that will update you on things to learn at CHIME, CATS students and staff can be heard with their contributions here.


A number of concerts have been advertised by our Cooperation Partner, KlangForum:

CHIME Konzert 02.10.2023
CHIME Konzert 03.10.2023


[***] The Library of the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University holds an extensive collection of musical treasures—recordings, scores, ephemera, and secondary literature on Chinese music. It brings together the CHIME Collection for Chinese Music Research—a large collection comprising everything from ethnographic to contemporary musical records—field video recording, scores, books, and more, the C.C. Liu Collection of Modern and Contemporary Chinese Music—an extensive collection of scores of contemporary musics from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China; the Liu Yuan Collection of Chinese Music—a collection of more than 2000 records reflecting the variety of musics available in mainland China throughout the 1950s and into the 1990s and finally the Steen Collection of PRC Rock and Pop music since the 1980s—and more: the music collections are growing by the day. A small exhibit in the CATS Library introduces these collections.

Accomodation in Heidelberg: Close to the city center and old town:
Accomodation in Heidelberg: Close to the train station:
StayCity Aparthotels Heidelberg
Speyerer Str. 7-9
69115 Heidelberg
sevenDays Hotel BoardingHouse
Eppelheimer Straße 14
69115 Heidelberg
Seitenbearbeiter: E-Mail
Letzte Änderung: 25.09.2023
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