Sunday, April 15th, 2012
My mother’s a pianist, and right now my mind’s still in China, so this book caught my eye: The Secret Piano: From Mao’s Labor Camps to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, by Zhu Xiao-Mei.
Zhu Xiao-Mei was just ten years old when she began a rigorous course of study at the Beijing Conservatory, laying the groundwork for what was sure to be an extraordinary career. But in 1966, when Xiao-Mei was seventeen, the Cultural Revolution began. . . . One by one, her family members were scattered, sentenced to prison or labor camps. By 1969, the art schools had closed, and Xiao-Mei was on her way to a work camp in Mongolia, where she would spend the next five years. Life in the camp was nearly unbearable, thanks to horrific living conditions and intensive brainwashing campaigns. Yet through it all Xiao-Mei clung to her passion for music and her sense of humor. And when the Revolution ended, it was the piano that helped her to heal. (from Amazon product review)
She lives in Paris now and has recorded The Goldberg Variations and much more.
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