Taiwan, renowned not only for its semiconductors and TSMC but also for its vibrant pop music and music-related cultural scenes, which are showcased in the “MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: TAIWAN CALLING!” exhibition. In collaboration with Taiwan Studies Arts & Culture Program at University of Washington (UW), the Taipei Music Center (TMC) proudly presents this exhibition designed to introduce the evolution and influence of Taiwanese and Mandarin pop music. Taking place on the UW campus from April 24 to May 28, the exhibition features a roundtable discussion and guided exhibition tours led by industry experts including Kay Huang – a venerated musician as well as Chairperson of TMC, Ma Shih-Fang – an award-winning broadcaster, and Chen Te-Cheng – a respected music critic in Taiwan.


MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: TAIWAN CALLING!” marks the first international outreach of the Taipei Music Center’s widely acclaimed permanent exhibit “MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: Pop Music in Taiwan.” The event provides a unique opportunity for a global audience to gain a deeper understanding of this precious island through the lens of its popular music culture. The exhibition highlights Taiwan’s distinctive geographical and historical contexts, illustrating how its diverse cultural heritage has nurtured the creativity of musicians. Featuring charismatic singers and influential music creators, with their timeless, cross-generational works, the exhibition manifests Taiwan’s role as the key originator of Mandopop. It also shines a spotlight on how Taiwan uses music to connect with the world, and their global presence.


Kay Huang, Chairperson of the Taipei Music Center, states that unlike other cultural institutions in the world that root for various art forms, the TMC is specifically devoted to bolstering Taiwan’s pop music. With innovative strategies, government support and strong collaborations within the industry, the TMC provides an integrated platform encompassing education, creation, production, and exhibitions. It has also teamed up with music stores and lifestyle shops to regularly host events that revitalize the cityscape, rejuvenate the cultural heritage, and foster an emotional bond with pop music, the local communities, and the city itself. Committed to the philosophy that “Music is Life; Living in Music,” the TMC strives to become the heart of Taiwan’s music industry. The innovative public-private partnership approach has stood out in Taiwan’s cultural promotion efforts and remains unique in the international arena.
“MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: TAIWAN CALLING!” is more than just an exhibition; it’s a journey of cultural exchange. Seattle, chosen as the exhibit’s first overseas venue, holds significant importance as the cradle of the influential American music genre known as Grunge or the Seattle Sound. The city witnessed the emergence of legendary Nirvana and Pearl Jam whose works profoundly shaped the evolution of contemporary pop music by incorporating social issues into the mainstream culture. The exhibition’s international debut in Seattle serves as a testament to how pop music can be a powerful tool for fostering cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.


The eagerly-awaited exhibition, “MUSIC, ISLAND, STORIES: TAIWAN CALLING!,” features 50 selected items, encompassing a diverse array of topics. Visitors will explore traditional instruments, experience the impact of rock music during the U.S. military presence in Taiwan, and feel the rise of “Sing Your Own Songs” folk music movement in the 1970s. The exhibition also traces Taiwan’s emergence as the center of Mandopop following the lift of the martial law in 1987 as well as its subsequent transition to democracy, offering insights into the international trajectory of contemporary pop music in Taiwan while revealing the enchanting allure of this genre’s new era.


Apart from the exhibition at the UW Allen Library North Lobby from April 24 to May 28, an in-person public roundtable discussion scheduled on April 24, along with two guided exhibition tours by experts respectively on April 25 and 26, will offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to delve deeper into Taiwan’s rich music culture. Participants will have the privilege of hearing about visions and experiences of music professionals including Kay Huang, Ma Shih-Fang, and Chen Te-Cheng, all of whom are ready to bring the energy and profundity of Taiwan’s popular music.



CONTACT: Christelle Cheng, chris.cheng@tmc.taipei