Pagoda Arts proudly celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The Pagoda Arts organisation was formed in 2009 and it is housed in the Chinese Community Centre, Liverpool. This Center began its initial operation in 1982. The following year, the Chinese Youth Orchestra was first established by Mr K.H. Li from China. Mr Li trained as a musician in China then later relocated to the UK. In Liverpool, Mr Li was employed as the Chinese culture officer at the centre, and together with his wife Mrs Li, the duo ran the arts and cultural department of the centre.
The dedicated couple worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this department. The Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra (PCYO) is the first of its kind in Europe.
Mrs Li started the dancing group, as well as the tai chi groups with the support of Liverpool Youth Service and Adult Learning Services.
Together, Mr and Mrs Li’s hard work culminated in the promotion of Chinese culture in Liverpool and the surrounding areas for three decades.
Pagoda Arts first formed in 2009 after consultation with a group of advisers from various musical, youth and artistic organisations. The intention was for the orchestra to become independent from the Community Centre, and for the orchestra to raise the range and quality of its musical influences, as well as to provide members with an accreditation to reflect and celebrate their effort, commitment and achievement for the forthcoming years. However, there was the concern that if the orchestra was set up entirely as independent then this would weaken the culture department, so it made more sense to have all cultural entities incorporated into“Pagoda Arts”.
This would ensure that Pagoda Arts maintained its place in the cultural arena and public platform, providing a service for all those interested in Chinese arts and culture.
Pagoda Arts continued to be based in the Pagoda Chinese Community Center. Mrs Li continues to run some of the classes at the centre. The present Artistic director of Pagoda Arts, daughter of Mr Li, Zi Lan Liao, who took over the running of the centre in 2013 after the demise of Mr Li, also directs the orchestra and teaches dance to young learners.
One of the moments of great pride for the orchestra came in 2010, when members of the of orchestra represented Liverpool by taking part in the World Expo in Shanghai. The children performed alongside the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Shanghai. This was an unforgettable achievement of great glory for the Pagoda Arts and Liverpool.