Mario Paci: An Italian Maestro in China
Located in the entrance hall of the East Asian Library, "Mario Paci: An Italian Maestro in China" features an exhibition of of selected materials from the Mario Paci Papers, a collection of documents, photographs, and musical scores donated to Stanford University Libraries in 2013 by Floria and Alexander Zaharoff, Paci's daughter and grandson, with the assistance of Stanford professor Jindong Cai. This important collection of documents is held in Stanford University Libraries Special Collections, and has recently been digitized.
Mario Paci was born in Florence in 1878. He studied at the Naples Conservatory of Music as a child and went on to study at the Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi" in Milan. In December 1918 he traveled to Shanghai to perform a piano recital, and in 1919 he was employed as the conductor of the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra (now the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra), serving in this position for 23 years until 1942. Paci revitalized the orchestra during his tenure as its conductor, earning it the reputation of "the best orchestra in the Far East"; his contributions were so significant that this period in the history of Western music in China is sometimes known as "the Paci Era." He was also dedicated to musical education, promoting Western music to Chinese audiences, including Chinese musicians among the previously all-foreign Shanghai Municipal Orchestra, and playing an important role in the 1927 founding of the National School for Music, which in 1956 became the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Mario Paci passed away on August 3, 1946 in Shanghai. In October 2016 the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with Stanford University Libraries, held an exhibit in the Shanghai Symphony Hall to commemorate the 70th anniversary of his passing. The East Asia Library, in partnership with the Music Library and the Center for East Asian Studies, is proud to host this exhibition of important historical documents, which attest to Maestro Paci's rich legacy in China.