Founded in 1989, the Academy of Music at Suzhou University of Science and Technology (SUSTAM) offers undergraduate degrees in music education, musicology, composition, electronic music, instrumental and piano performance, and dance, as well as a Master degree in music. The Academy of Music has approximately 500 students and 37 teaching faculty members, including seven professors, eleven Ph.D./DMA degree holders, and eight faculty members for the Master’s program.
Focusing on recruiting international talents, the Academy appointed Prof. Dr. Christopher CHEN, a member of the prestigious "Thousand Talents Plan" of China and an internationally renowned conductor, as the Dean. In addition, an acclaimed composer, Prof. Yuan LIU was appointed as a full-time distinguished professor, along with esteemed scholars, Muhai TANG, Marc Battier, Hans-Christian Wille, Tzong-Ching JU, Jeffrey Sharkey, and Baoping REN, as distinguished professors.
The Academy’s faculty and students regularly perform and share their talents with music institutions abroad as well as here in China. The SUSTAM Chorus performed with the Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus in Germany in March 2014; collaborated with Taiwan’s Baroque Camerata in June 2014; toured in and performed in different cities as Shanghai Concert Hall, Shandong Grand Theater, Xuzhou Concert Hall, and The Chongqing Grand Theatre. The Chorus also worked with the Tapiola Youth Symphonic Orchestra in October 2014 and sang at the Tapiola Hall, in Finland and the Suzhou Cultural Arts Center. It is also the first university chorus group that has been invited to participate in the “Glory of the Yellow River” Concert and perform with Chengzong YIN, the world-renowned pianist, and the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan. SUSTAM’s Chinese Orchestra became the first Chinese representative invited to participate at the GLOMUS in Malaysia in January 2015.
In September 2014, the SUSTAM Chorus won the gold medal in Choral Division of the 9th Chinese Golden Bell Awards Music Competition– the first winner ever from Jiangsu Province. They also won the first prize in the 4th China National University Performing Arts Competition in 2015. In July 2016, it earned the distinction of “Class A Chorus” at the 13th China International Chorus Festival. In March 2017 the SUSTAM chorus performed Prof. Yuan Liu’s choral symphony War and Peace, which is the first China National Art Fund project in Suzhou; at its premiere, accompanied by the China National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dean Christopher CHEN in Grand Theatre of Suzhou Culture and Art Centre.
The Academy of Music has collaborated in academic studies, teaching resources and cultural exchanges with highly regarded music schools in the UK, Italy, and Finland. The Academy is also closely working with the Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts, Far Eastern Group of Taiwan, the Shandong Performing Arts Group, the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre, and Suzhou District Economic Development Group for internship opportunities and platforms for music talents, performance, and continuing education.
In addition to being at the forefront in music education in Jiangsu Province, the SUSTAM has become one of the most sought-after music institutions for its chorus, Chinese orchestra, and chamber music groups of teachers and percussion groups.