Mario Paci was a well-known Italian pianist and conductor in the early 20th century. He is one of the most important contributors to the development of Western classical music in China. Paci was born in Florence on June 4, 1878 and came to Shanghai in December 1918 to give a piano recital. Because of his successful performance, the Municipal Council Government of the Shanghai International Settlement engaged him to revitalize the city’s orchestra. From 1919 Paci served as conductor of the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra (now the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra), a position he held for 23 years until 1942, when the occupying Japanese took control of city’s cultural organizations. Paci was also a renowned piano teacher; he taught piano to many Chinese students from his arrival until his death in Shanghai on August 3, 1946.
Mario Paci devoted the golden years of his career to Shanghai. He elevated the playing level of the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra to unprecedented heights, and under his tenure the orchestra became known as “the best orchestra in the Far East." Paci’s contributions to the development of Western classical music in Shanghai are so significant that this period is sometimes known as “the Paci Era.”
The presence of Paci and the Municipal Orchestra made Shanghai the center of China’s burgeoning Western classical music scene in the first half of the 20th century. Beginning in 1925, Paci insisted that Chinese should be allowed to attend the Municipal Orchestra’s concerts. Beginning in 1927 he permitted Chinese musicians to join the all foreigners’ orchestra; Tan Shuzhen, Huang Yijun, Chen Youxin, Xu Weilin, and many others became the first generation of Chinese orchestra musicians. In the 1930s, Paci began to invite Chinese soloists to collaborate with the orchestra, including Ma Sicong, Dong Guangguang. He also premiered and recorded the first symphonic composition ever written by the Chinese composer Huang Zi.
Paci also made many important contributions to music education. Because of the presence and excellence of the orchestra, Chinese music educator Xiao Youmei decided to found the national music school in 1927 under the support of Cai Yuanpai which is now the Shanghai Conservatory. Many of Paci’s own students, including Fu Cong, Zhou Guangren, Wu Yili, Wu Leyi, Dong Guangguang, and Yang Jiaren, among others, went on to become the first generation of Chinese pianists, conductors, and music educators.
Paci lived and worked in Shanghai for 27 years. His influence on the development of Western classical music performance and professional music education in China is great and profound. The year 2016 is the 70th anniversary of Paci’s death. To mark this anniversary and commemorate Paci’s contributions to music in Shanghai, this exhibition has been jointly organized by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Stanford University. The exhibition was presented in the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall in October 2016.
梅百器是二十世纪早期著名的意大利钢琴家和指挥家。 对西方古典音乐在中国的发展，他是最重要的贡献者之一。 梅百器生于1878年6月4日。 他1918年12月来到上海举办钢琴演奏会。 因为他成功的演出，上海租界的工部局开始和他接触，希望他能重振当地的管弦乐团。 从1919年开始，梅百器出任上海工部局乐团 (今上海交响乐团) 的指挥。 他执掌这个职位23年直到1942年日本占领上海后控制了所有的文化组织。 梅百器也是一位声誉斐然的钢琴教师。 从他来到上海直到1946年8月3日去世，他教授了许多中国钢琴学生。
梅百器将他事业的黄金期奉献给了上海。 他将上海工部局乐团的演奏水平提升到了前所未有的高度。 在他任内，乐团获得了“远东第一”的名声。 梅百器对上海的西方古典音乐发展做出了巨大的贡献，以至于这段时期被称为“百器时代”。
在 20 世纪前半叶，梅百器和工部局乐团的存在使得上海成为西方古典音乐在中国兴兴向荣景象的中心。 从1925年开始，梅百器坚持让中国人能参加工部局乐团的音乐会。 从1927年开始，他允许中国人加入当时完全由外国人组成的乐团。 谭抒真，黄贻钧，陈又新，徐威麟，以及其他许多人成为了中国第一代管弦乐团的演奏家。 在1930年代，梅百器开始邀请中国的独奏音乐家与乐团合作演出，这其中包括马思聪，董光光。 他还为中国作曲家黄自创作的中国第一部交响乐举行了首演和录音。
梅百器也为音乐教育做出了很多贡献。 因为工部局乐团的优秀模范作用，中国音乐教育家萧友梅在教育部长蔡元培的支持下于1927年决定创办国立音乐学院，也就是后来的上海音乐学院。 梅百器的很多学生，包括傅聪，周广仁，巫漪丽，吴乐懿，董光光，杨嘉仁等等日后成为中国第一代钢琴家，指挥家，以及音乐教育家。