In Memoriam: Rulan Chao Pian, 1922-2013

pianRulan Chao Pian, professor emerita of music at Harvard University, died late last month at her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was 91 years old.

Dr. Pian was born in Cambridge. Both of her parents were born in China. Her father came to the United States for college and later taught philosophy and Chinese at Harvard.

Dr. Pian was a graduate of Radcliffe College and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in music history from Harvard. She began to teach Chinese at Harvard as a graduate student in 1947. She joined the department of music in 1961 and in 1974 she was named professor of East Asian languages and civilizations and professor of music. Professor Pian retired from teaching in 1992.

Among Dr. Pian’s many publications was Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources and Their Interpretation (Harvard University Press, 1967). The book won the Otto Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicology Society for the best book of the year on music history.

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