Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Music




Hunter, Justin

Committee Member/Reader

Bentley, Christa

Committee Member/Second Reader

Su, Danjie

Committee Member/Third Reader

Aloia, Lindsey


“Let a hundred flowers bloom, to discard the old for the new.” Mao Zedong first said this when outlining his expectations for artists under the regime of the Communist Party in 1954, but it is also a quote that embodies what the Modern Chinese Orchestra is and has been throughout time. This paper aims to analyze this Chinese instrumental tradition and how it represents the people of China past and present, both inside China and in its diaspora. It shows music as a powerful tool for creating a collective identity. Starting with influences from ancient China, origins in the folk tradition jiangnan sizhu, the political landscape of 19th century China, to the double standard of growth and destruction of Mao Zedong, one sees how the Modern Chinese Orchestra has transformed to fit the needs of the Chinese people, and how it still continues to do so.


music, identity, politics, Modern Chinese Orchestra, Jiangnan Sizhu, Mao Zedong