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Published: 02 November 2018

Chinese musical tradition comes to Surrey

A Chinese graduate has donated a valuable musical instrument to the Department of Music and Media on her first visit to campus since leaving in 2010.

Man and woman holding the donated guqin
Dr Tom Armstrong, Senior Lecturer in Music, with graduate Nini Liao and the guqin she has donated

Nini Liao, who graduated with an MSc in Management, is a teacher of guqin, the oldest music instrument in China. On a recent trip with her family, she presented one, along with a signed copy of a renowned book on the subject by guqin maestro Professor Xiangting Li. Nini also treated University staff to a moving recital.

Professor Tony Myatt, Head of the Department of Music and Media, said: “We were delighted to accept Nini’s generous gifts. We will treasure and use them for the benefit of our students. It is also a wonderful opportunity to share this unique instrument with Surrey’s International Guitar Research Centre, run by Professor Steve Goss and Dr Milton Mermikides.”

For Nini the visit was a chance to share her Surrey memories with her husband and young daughter. She said: “My time at Surrey made such an impression on me and I have missed it so much. It was lovely to show my family where I lived and studied.”

The guqin is a plucked seven-stringed instrument of the zither family and has a 5,000-year history. It has been recognised by UNESCO as part of the “Intangible and Oral Heritage of Humanity”.