After a long struggle with lung cancer, Professor Liantao Tian, musicologist, composer, educator, Central Conservatory researcher, retired head of the Center for Music Research, and Honorary Head of the Chinese Minority Music Association, peacefully passed away on October 10, 2020 at CareOne in Concord, MA. He was 90.
Professor Tian committed his entire life to research and the development of the music of the ethnic minorities of China, to the development of curricula, and the promotion of higher education among the ethnic minority communities. During his lifetime, he held teaching positions at Minzu University of China and at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. He published numerous books and articles on the subject, such as: "The Folk Song and Polyphonic Singing Style of the Dong Minority," "The Folk Music and Culture of Tibet," "The Folk Music and Culture of the Wa Minority," "The Folk Music and Culture of the Dai Minority," "Sacred Music of Tibet," and "Traditional Music of the Chinese Minorities" He trained more than 40 doctoral students of various minorities who are now among China's leading music educators.
As a composer, Professor Tian wrote for the films "The Peacock Princess," "Boy of Fire," "The Third Goddess," "The Ivory Covered Wooden Shed," the television series "Red Cliff," and the musical "Drama of the Mountain Liang." Professor Tian composed a great deal of dance music for the stage and for the piano and violin; together with his wife, cellist Tao Song, he composed the following works for the cello: "Children of the Red River," "Song of the Loess Plateau," and "Capriccio Himalaya".
Professor Tian is survived by his wife of 63 years, Professor Tao Song, his daughter Ning Tien and her husband Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, and grandson Andrew Scialla.