Composer Lu Chuan-Sheng
Photo courtesy of Sunny Koo
Editior／Felicity Fei-Hsien Chiu
The composer Professor Lu Chuan-Sheng, the “Father of
's Children’s Choir”, Lu Chuan-Sheng, who passed away on March 17, 2008 in
at his age of 92. Los
A note on Lu Chuan-Sheng
Lu Chuan-Sheng, born into a Christian family in Shengang,
County in 1916, was a great music
educator known as the “Father of 's Children’s Choir”. Lu’s
parents were devoted Christians and they often took him to participate in the
church choir, which inspired him to study music later on. Taiwan
Because of his strong interest in music, Lu went to Japan to study and majored in Piano. His dream to become a concert pianist was shattered when he damage his arm. However, this unfortunate event marked a new beginning in his life. He changed his major to Vocal Music and did a minor in Piano Theory and Composition. The choral singing on his curriculum had a tremendous influence on his later devotion to lyric composition and choral singing education. While studying in
his extra curriculum activities included singing for theatrical plays,
auditioning for a place in an Olympic Choir member, and gaining admission to
the NHK Broadcast Choir’s Group F. After graduating from Japan ,
Lu became a professional singer. He played lead roles in the theater and sang
part time with the NHK Choir. Music School
Lu returned to Taiwan in 1943 and settled in the Dadaocheng（大稻埕）area of Taipei, where his interest in Taiwan folk songs began to take root. He composed three folk songs, “Paddy Field of June for Chiayi”（六月田水）, “Train through the Tunnel” (pronounced as “diu-diu-dang-ah”，丟丟銅仔) for Yilan, and “A Chirping Bird”（一隻鳥仔哮救救）which became the pioneer folk song pieces for choirs singing in Taiwanese.
During the course of his career, Lu composed more than two hundred folk songs. The three songs, “Lullaby”（搖嬰仔歌）composed in 1945, “Don't Keep Fish in the bottom of the cup”（杯底毋通飼金魚）composed in 1947 and released in 1949, and “Open the Window to the Heart”（阮若打開心內的門窗）in 1958, are the most popular.
The three well-known Lu compositions
In May 1945 during WWII, the allies bombarded
heavily in their attacks against . Lu sent his wife and
3-month-old child to his hometown, while he remained in Japan and worked at the Taipei Broadcast
Bureau. But his longing for his wife and newborn baby grew deeper day by day.
He asked his father-in-law, who was a pastor, to write the lyrics for what
would later become the widely acclaimed “Voice for the Formosan Parents – the
“Don't Keep Fish in the bottom of the cup” was intended to ease the ethnic tensions between local Taiwanese and the so-called mainlanders on the island after the 228 Incident. Lu, who had experienced the conflict, thought that better understanding could be achieved among people if they drink together, bottoms-up style, and open their hearts to each other. He composed both the melody and lyrics of the song and performed it at its premiere in April 1949.
“Don't Keep Fish in the bottom of the cup” was once performed by the renowned Taiwanese baritone Tseng Dau-Hsiong（曾道雄）at a United Nations concert in Tokyo, Japan, in 1988. Tseng chose it as the representative song for
“Open the Window to the Heart” was a composed in collaboration with doctor Wang Chang-Hsiung (王昶雄), who was the same age with Lu and was known as a famous Taiwanese writer. The song was meant to comfort and encourage young men who had moved from rural areas to the cities because of the social structure transformation. It is now a very popular piece in the repertoires of choirs.
Lu composed three hundred and seventy pieces of music throughout his life. He received several honors such as the “Music Composition Award from Chinese Culture and Art Association” in 1990, “National Cultural Award from the government” in 1991, “Special Achievement Honor for the Fourth Annual Golden Songs and Lyrics of Republic of China” in 1992, and “Humanities Achievement Award of Taiwanese-American Foundation” in 2007.
Lu and his wife moved to
in 1991 to be with their children, after he retired at age 75. However, when he
was 91 he returned to Los Angeles
twice in 2007 accompanied by his family. The first time was to attend the 50th
anniversary celebration of the Rong-Shing Chorus in July, the second was to
receive the “Humanities Achievement Award” from the Taiwanese-American
Foundation in November 2007. Taiwan
A note about Lu Chuan-Sheng and Rong-Shing Chorus（榮星合唱團）
Rong Shing Chorus, one of Taiwan's more prestigious choruses, was founded by Koo Wei-Fu（辜偉甫）in 1957. At the time, Lu Chuan-Sheng was the music director of the group. Koo and Lu both believed that educating children through music is a means of uplifting a country's culture.
They therefore founded the Rong-Shing Children's Chorus, which was the first children's chorus in
The Rong-Shing Women's Chorus was later founded in 1962 and Rong-Shing Girls'
Chorus in 2005. Taiwan
Lu had created a rich environment for musical education in
through his unwavering
efforts and his dedication to children’s choirs. Taiwan
Lu devoted his efforts to the Rong-Shing Children's Chorus for over 35 years, from 1957 to 1991. The Rong-Shing Children's Chorus, under his direction, was selected to represent
at the second annual Asian Children's Chorus Festival in in 1967. The Rong-Shing Children's
Chorus earned the high praises for it’s a cappella performance at a concert in
Over the past 51 years, the Rong-Shing Chorus has contributed tremendously to the field of the music education in
and also inspired its students to become brilliant professionals and excellent
amateurs. Rong-Shing Chorus has a very busy concert schedule that includes
touring around Taiwan Taiwan and
abroad to countries such as Japan,
the U.S. , Canada and Southeastern
Asia. The celestial voices and the innocent smiles of these
children have profoundly touched Rong-Shing's worldwide audience.
The above information is edited by Felicity Fei-Hsien CHIU（邱斐顯）, and checked by Peggy Carr, English consultant, the Central News Agency.