Founded in 1958, the Cantonese Music and Song Art Troupe focuses on the composition and performance of Cantonese music and Cantonese song art as well as related research. It is directly under the Administration of Culture, Press, Publication, Radio and Television of Guangzhou Municipality, and is the competent unit charged with the responsibility of preserving two types of National Intangible Cultural Heritage – Cantonese music and Cantonese song art.
For more than five decades, the Troupe has been the home of many virtuoso instrumentalists and new generations of artists. It is therefore well-known for its strength in the genre as well as in its cast. It has taken upon itself the tasks of upholding the traditions and paving new paths for the development of Cantonese music and song art by actively reviving, preserving and arranging traditional works while creating new repertoires of high standards. It has established a unique performing style with a rich vernacular flavour. Apart from publishing collections of Cantonese music and song art, it has cut numerous video and audio recordings for worldwide release.
Since its inception, the Troupe has won several prizes at the annual variety shows at municipal, provincial and national levels. It was presented with the Wenhua New Repertory Award and the Wenhua Award for Performance by the Ministry of Culture, as well as the ‘Peony Award’, the highest honour in Chinese song art. It is often on government overseas delegations, and has won the acclaim of foreign dignitaries and the political leaders of China. It has made touring performances and cultural exchange visits to many countries and regions, including the former Soviet Union, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, North Korea, Myanmar, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao. In 2009, the Troupe performed a concert featuring Cantonese musical gems at the Goldener Saal, Musikverein in Vienna, marking a milestone in Cantonese music which was also the fulfillment of wishes of generations of musicians of Guangdong. The concert was taken on tour to Poland the following year. With nine shows performed in different places, the Troupe succeeded in opening up the European musical arena. Later that year, it appeared in the 9th China Arts Festival and the Asian Games before going on a national tour and performing in the Guangzhou Arts Festival in 2011. Everywhere the Troupe went, it was popularly received, its performances being regarded as exemplary of the arts and culture of Guangdong.