By Zhu Xiao-Mei
Zhu Xiao-Mei used to be born to middle-class mom and dad in post-war China, and her musical talent turned transparent at an early age. Taught to play the piano by means of her mom, she built quick right into a prodigy, immersing herself within the paintings of classical masters like Bach and Brahms. She was once simply ten years outdated whilst she all started a rigorous process learn on the Beijing Conservatory, laying the foundation for what was once bound to be a unprecedented occupation. yet in 1966, whilst Xiao-Mei used to be seventeen, the Cultural Revolution started, and lifestyles as she knew it replaced ceaselessly. one after the other, her kinfolk have been scattered, sentenced to legal or hard work camps. via 1969, the artwork colleges had closed, and Xiao-Mei used to be on her approach to a piece camp in Mongolia, the place she could spend the following 5 years. lifestyles within the camp used to be approximately insufferable, due to terrible residing stipulations and in depth brainwashing campaigns. but via all of it Xiao-Mei clung to her ardour for tune and her humorousness. And while the Revolution ended, it was once the piano that helped her to heal. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, The mystery Piano is the really good real tale of 1 woman’s survival within the face of incredible odds—and in pursuit of a robust dream.
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Additional info for The Secret Piano: From Mao's Labor Camps to Bach's Goldberg Variations
By way of the tip of the night, they'd all develop into associates. I fast observed that she had a top quality that i'll by no means own: she was once fearless! whilst she figured out concerning the modest nature of my lodgings, she invited me to stick in her fabulous Paris condo and reap the benefits of her Steinway. The morning after I moved in, I made an analogous supply that I had made to my different hosts: to do some house responsibilities in trade for a spot to dwell. Her black eyes fastened on me: “Absolutely now not! Do you pay attention me? by no means! to the contrary, my cleansing lady will look after you. i would like you to perform the piano and not using a considered anything. ” It used to be the 1st time an individual had ever spoken to me like that. She took me to the Louvre. within the Denon wing, she mentioned a statue to me, which stood on the best of a large staircase. “You see, in the event you move on level, i want you to be like her: positive and masterful, yet mild and swish even as. ” I fashionable the masterpiece that rose in entrance of me: the Winged Victory of Samothrace. “I comprehend what you've been through,” she informed me once more. “What you would like now could be to believe in your self. ” She had a really oriental manner of maintaining and selling me. after we took the bus, she could announce to the conductor that he had the nice fortune to be chauffeuring a good pianist. once we went to shop for medication, she might tell the pharmacist that he was once ready on an incredible artist. In these moments, I didn’t comprehend which solution to glance, yet what might you assert to a person who at some point declared, in all seriousness: “If I knew that it's going to let me to play Kinderszenen how you do, I’d be capable of go away instantly for ten years in camp at Zhangjiakou! ” a number of months had passed by whilst Marian Rybicki introduced that he had equipped a chain of concert events in Poland for me. My first travel! Six concert events! the 1st occasion was once held in the home the place Chopin used to be born, in elazowa Wola. on the finish of the live performance, i used to be congratulated. The viewers had loved how I had performed the Mazurkas, which I had labored on with Marian Rybicki. i used to be reminded that my fellow countryman, Fu Cong, had obtained the Mazurka Prize for his interpretation of an analogous items on the 1955 Chopin pageant in Warsaw. Then, looking a solution to a query that intrigued them, they requested: “Is there a selected chinese language aesthetic for the translation of those brief works? ” i admire Poland and its audiences, that are so delicate to track. I felt a selected sympathy for this humans, who, just like the chinese language, weren't but loose. I understood them, and shared their frustration. I got a princely sum for the six concerts—the identical of 2 years’ wage for a Polish employee. regrettably, the złoty was once now not convertible at the moment, and that i wouldn’t have the capacity to take the cash out of Poland. I then had the assumption of contacting the chinese language ambassador to Poland. I defined to him who i used to be and the character of my name. i wished to entrust him with my live performance wages in order that he may well buy ratings of Chopin’s tune for the Beijing Conservatory.