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Why Did China Embrace Beethoven? Find Out at This Book Talk

Beethoven in China

It was during the Cultural Revolution that composer Jindong Cai fell in love with Beethoven’s music. This Sunday, August 30, Cai will explain the roots of that love — and why that love is shared by millions of Chinese — when he gives a talk on the book Beethoven in China: How the Great Composer Became an Icon in the People’s Republic, which he co-authored with his wife Sheila Melvin.

As Penguin, the publisher, explains:

At the turn of the twentieth century, students returning from abroad brought Beethoven to China. The composer’s perseverance in the face of adversity and his musical genius resonated in a nation searching for a way forward. Beethoven remained a durable part of Chinese life in the decades that followed, becoming an icon to intellectuals, music fans and party cadres alike, and playing a role in major historical events from the May Fourth Movement to the normalisation of US-China relations.

Jindong Cai is an orchestra conductor and a professor at Stanford University. He is also the Artistic Director of the Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival, which he founded in 2005. Maestro Cai serves as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in China and of the Mongolia State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet in Ulaan Baatar.

He is a three-time recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. Together with his wife Sheila Melvin, Cai has co-authored a series of articles for the New York Times on the performing arts in China and a book, Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese.

This book talk will be moderated by fine arts journalist Nancy Pellegrini.

Jindong Cai 2

Sunday, August 30, 8 pm

50 RMB (40 RMB members)

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