An Early Pioneer of Classical Music Education in China

Paci promoted music education in China. He cultivated a group of outstanding Chinese musicians. The most famous among them were Guangguang Dong, Guangren Zhou Fu Cong, and others.

Photograph of Paci with his students, 67th birthday anniversary, signed by nearly 40 students (1945).

Signatures are: Jiaren Yang, Leyi Wu, Qiao Lin, Cong Fu, Yu Shen, Meibai Tao, Dawang Xu, Lulu Cao, Hao Zhang, Lilin Xu, Guangguang Dong, Zhuangrong Guo, Zhu qilian Guo, Weixin Liang, Jinxia Zhang, Lingzhen Zhang, Yiliang Yin, Chenghua Zheng, Yunqing Kong, Mingzhu Gao, Jianlan Wei, Lizhu Liang, Yongyun Pan, Yili Wu, Mingqing zhang, Junqing Lin, Ziling Zhang, Guangren Zhou (No signature).

On the concert stage, Paci actively reached out to the Chinese public, especially young people. In 1926 he promoted and encouraged the Chinese community to attend the orchestra’s summer concerts in Hongkew Park. In 1929 he started a sophisticated series of “young people’s” concerts in which Chinese children were active participants and talented young musicians performed with the orchestra. He personally issued special concert passes to students of the National Conservatory, so that they could attend orchestra concerts for free. Paci was also closely involved in plans to establish a tuition-free conservatory in Zhejiang Province. He believed it was critical for China to have such an institution, so that “really talented pupils can be discovered and given an opportunity to apply themselves wholeheartedly [to] the study of music.”

Photograph given by Paci to his student Guangguang Dong after her performance with the orchestra. Paci wrote: "Dear Kwong-Kwong, I am proud of you! You have played the Beethoven's concerto really well! ... Mario Paci"

Program, summer public concert, Shanghai Municipal Orchestra, Hongkew Park, June 1926.

Shanghai Municipal Orchestra concert program, October 20, 1935, featuring young Chinese violinist Jenji Wang performing Henryk Wieniawski's Violin Concerto no. 2 in D minor, op. 22.

To study with Paci in the piano teaching studio was a very serious undertaking, requiring absolute dedication and commitment in addition to talent. Paci influenced an entire generation of piano learners in Shanghai. His students included an outstanding group of Chinese pianists, among them Fu Cong, Dong Guangguang, Wu Yili, and Zhou Guangren.