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Lei Zhenbang: Master of Chinese Folk Music and Film Soundtracks

Jul 31, 2010

Lei Zhenbang

In the previous four posts about Chinese music, I introduced four most popular representative works written by Composer Lei Zhenbang. Today in this post, I’d like to summarize these posts and tell you something about the composer Lei Zhenbang himself.

Lei Zhenbang’s Most Popular Works:

By the Butterfly Spring: Tale of Five Golden Flowers

Why Are the Flowers So Red?

Wedding Oath – A Lusheng Love Song

The Folk Song is Just Like Spring River: Legend of Liu San-Jie

Lei Zhenbang: Master of Chinese Folk Music and Film Soundtracks

Lei Zhenbang (1916-1997), was born in Beijing. Manchu ethnicity. Peking opera and folk tunes was his childhood favorites. He can play Erhu. Educated at Composition Division, Advanced School of Music of Japan. After returning homeland, he had been a high school teacher. Then former Beijing Film Studio and Changchun Film Studio composer, member of 3rd Council of Chinese Musicians Association, member of 4th Council of Chinese Film Association, member of China Democratic League, member of the Sixth CPPCC National Committee. His works are collected in “Lei Zhenbang Songs Election”.

Lei Zhenbang was born in Beijing, raised with Peking opera. When he was only seven or eight years old, he could not only sing opera in short sections, but also could play with the Erhu instrument.

In 1928, he went to Fengtian Public School in Shenyang, then ascended into the South Manchuria High School. He learned to play harmonica then, and joined the school Harmonica Band, became the conductor of it.

In 1939, he went to Japan to study music, then graduated from Department of Composition, Advanced School of Music of Japan in Tokyo.

In 1943, returned to China and worked as music teacher in Beijing Girls’ High School and Huizhong Girls High School. After WWII, he organized an amateur orchestra.

In 1949, moved to the China Film Philharmonic Orchestra

In 1955, was transferred to the Changchun Film Studio as composer.

Lei Zhenbang and His Daughter Lei Lei

Lei Zhenbang and His Daughter Lei Lei

Lei Zhenbang was good at absorbing the Chinese ethnic musical elements, composed a number of popular film soundtracks of strong ethnic minorities’ style.

Most notably ones were listed in the beginning of this post. They are:

Zhuang-style folk songs created for the film “Liu San-Jie”; Tajik song “Why Are the Flowers So Red” for the film “Visitors on the Icy Mountain”; Bai-style song “By the Butterfly Spring” for the film “Five Golden Flowers”; as well as the Lahu song “Wedding Oath” for the movie “Lusheng Love Song”.

These classic works are still active in the Chinese music stages. Besides, he also wrote Korean, Jingpo, Yi and other styles of film music.

Lei Lei – Lei Zhenbang’s daughter – is also a composer.

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