Wang Kun

Chinese actress, musical director, opera singer and teacher Wang Kun was born in Tang County, Hebei province in 1925. She was a member of the People's Liberation Army's performing arts troupe in the 1940s and became known for playing the lead role in modern China's first Western-style opera, Yan Jinxuan's The White Haired Girl in 1945. Her vocal style featured consistent vibrato, a bright timbre and elements of Western bel canto style.

She was also one of the first Chinese performing artists to train overseas - in her case in the USSR with Medvedev in 1949. She directed the Oriental Song and Dance Company, and sat on many high-powered committees. Her husband Zhou Weizhi was Minister of Culture for the People's Republic of China. Her students included Cheng Fangyuan, Ai Jing and Li Lingyu.

Wang Kun died on 21 November 2014, aged eighty-nine.