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Music: The C.C. Liu Collection



Professor Ching-Chih Liu

Professor Liu Ching-chih (known as “C.C. Liu”) was born in Shanghai in February 1935 and moved to Hong Kong in May 1948.

After graduating from Pui Ching Middle School, he worked as a schoolteacher for some years (1958-1966), during which he took and passed the public music examinations of LTSC (1962), AMusTCL (1962) and LRSM (1963). He joined the Hong Kong bureau of BBC as a Senior Translator and worked there from 1966 to early 1973, during which he studied for University of London’s external degree and obtained BA (Honours) (Chinese Studies) in 1972. He joined the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in April 1973 and thereafter earned MPhil (1979) and PhD (1983) degrees, researching zaju of the Yuan Dynasty.

At HKU he worked as an innovative administrator and became a Fellow of the Centre of Asian Studies (CAS) in 1981, thus starting his decades-long research on the history of new music in China. At CAS he organised seminars on the history of new music and supplementary seminars, and (co-)edited two series of proceedings monographs: “The History of New Music in China” (seven volumes, 1986-2001), and “Studies of Ethnomusicology” (ten volumes, 1989-2005). He retired from HKU in 1995 and worked at Lingnan University from 1996 to 2001 as a Professor of Translation. He was Visiting Professor of the Department of Music Education at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music from 2004 to 2017. He remained an Honorary Research Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS, incorporating CAS), HKU.

He joined the Hong Kong Translation Society in 1974 and was awarded Honorary Life Fellow in 1991 and became its longest-serving President (13 years between 1986-2004). He was also the longest-serving President of Hong Kong Ethnomusicology Society (from 1986 all the way to 2004). With both he was awarded the President Emeritus status, in 2005 and 2004 respectively. He was the Chief Editor of Translation Quarterly, the journal of the Hong Kong Translation Society from 1995 to 2004 and was the Founding Chief Editor from 2005. He became Life Fellow of the (Chartered) Institute of Linguists (London) in 1978 and was the first recipient of its Life Honorary Membership in 1991 (now known as Life Hon. MCIL), a category of honor created in 1990 for members who have rendered outstanding services to the Institute. He also served as Founding Chairman (1984-1990) and President (1990-2004) of the (Chartered) Institute of Linguist Hong Kong Society.

He served other Societies and organisations too, including the following: Hong Kong Pei Hua Education Foundation Limited (Founding and Life Member, from 1982); Hong Kong Sino-British Fellowship Trust Scholars’ Association (Chairman, 1986-1990; Vice-President, 1994-2010; Senior Vice-President, from 2010); Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation (Ordinary Life Member, from 1980; Executive Committee Member, 1980-2006; Honorary Staff Officer, 1985-2003; Advisory Member,  2006-2019; Honorary Advisor, from 2019); International Association of Theatre Critics (Hong Kong) (Life Member, from 1995); Hong Kong Philharmonic Society (Member of Board of Governors, 1996-2002 and 2008-2014); and Hong Kong Children’s Choir (Member of Board of Directors, from 2000). 

C.C. Liu is a pride of Hong Kong.

Provided by Dr. Yongyan Li, Faculty of Education 


In 2000, Professor Liu donated a grand total of 5,776 items to the Libraries including 737 volumes of scores, 363 volumes of music-related books, 376 items of audio-visual materials, 491 issues from 57 journals, 2,983 pamphlets, article reprints, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, concert programme notes, and 180 volumes of materials on translation and Chinese literature. Professor Liu collected a vast array of invaluable materials by organizing international seminars on New Music in China between 1985 and 1999. His collection contains musical materials covering the entire period of new music or westernized music in China. Its strength resides in materials related to music of the Sino-Japanese Conflict from 1937-1945 and the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. Many of these materials are not commercially available and unique in Hong Kong. This is possibly the largest collection of materials on new music in China in private hands in Hong Kong prior to the turnover to the University of Hong Kong Libraries.



  “During the first half of the 1970s, when the Cultural Revolution was still raging in China, I managed to purchase eight beautifully printed and bound scores of the revolutionary model works.”  

Liu, C. C. (2005). Preface. In H. Woo, H.-Y. Chan, & G. Predota (Eds.), New music in China and The C. C. Liu Collection at the University of Hong Kong (pp. ix-xviii). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Within the Music Collection, a red dot affixed on the spine makes items in The C.C. Liu Collection easily visible on the shelf. In 2017, Professor Liu donated additional music materials to the Collection, including MUZIK 古典樂刊,a popular Taiwanese magazine. The Collection has received 42 issues that are available for loan.  


Works by CC Liu

His first book is An English-Chinese Glossary of University Terms (1979); his first book as a translation scholar is《翻譯論集》(Essays on Translation) (1981), an edited collection which was an instant hit; and his first book as a historian of new music in China is 《中國新音樂史論集》(The History of New Music in China: Collected Essays) (1986), the first collection in his edited proceedings monograph series on “The History of New Music in China”. The volume which he regarded as his most important book is 《中國新音樂史論》(A Critical History of New Music in China) (1st edition 1998; expanded edition 2009; and English edition 2010, translated by Caroline Mason). His last two books are two volumes in a series: 《香港音樂史論——粵語流行曲、嚴肅音樂、粵劇》(A Critical History of Music in Hong Kong: Cantopop, Serious Music and Cantonese Opera) (2013), and《香港音樂史論——文化政策、音樂教育》(A Critical History of Music in Hong Kong: Cultural Policies and Music Education) (2014). Over the course of his four decades of academic career, he published a total of over 40 books. In addition, he was the most prolific music critic in Hong Kong, having published thousands of music reviews and culture reviews (as a columnist for some periods of time) in newspapers, including Sing Tao Daily, Hong Kong Commercial Daily, The Hong Kong Economic Journal, and Ta Kung Pao, and in magazines, from the early 1980s to 2018.

His most recent publications are the first two parts of his unfinished Memoir: “The Hong Kong Translation Society’s first 20 years (1971-1991)”, and “The Hong Kong Translation Society’s development (1991-2018)”. These were published in six installments in Translation Quarterly (Nos. 87-92, 2018-2019).

Provided by Dr. Yongyan Li, Faculty of Education

 In the Readinglist@HKUL, C.C. Liu’s publications are listed in several categories. His donations, scores and music books, can also be found in the reading list.   

Useful Links

* The C. C. Liu Collection at the University of Heidelberg, Germany 

In 1991, Professor Barbara Mittler, currently Chair and Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany, duplicated the materials in The C.C. Liu Collection which were mostly stored at the Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, at the time and made them available in the Institute of Chinese Studies Library at the University of Heidelberg.

The C.C. Liu Collection at the University of Heidelberg

*Scholarly writings on the HKU University Anthem

Liu Ching Chih. 1978. “The Verse and Music of the University Anthem: the three versions of the University Anthem” in Interflow, November.

_________. 1979. “The Verse and Music of the University Anthem: the music of the University Anthem” in Interflow, January.