• Beethoven in China, 2015
    by Jindong Cai


October 6

 518 Memorial Way, Room 224
Stanford, CA 94305

Beethoven in China

At the turn of the twentieth century, the foundations of traditional Chinese society were crumbling. Many patriotic and idealistic young people went overseas to seek inspiration and education, determined to learn from the outside world and forge a new path forward for China. Beethoven was introduced to China during this period by a series of remarkable artists and intellectuals who learned about the composer while studying in Japan. Xiao Youmei was the first Chinese to bring the sound of Beethoven to Chinese people. After his studies in Japan and Germany, Xiao came back to China in 1921 and began promoting music education at Peking University, where he created the first Chinese symphony orchestra to perform Beethoven’s music. Since then, Beethoven has become an iconic figure in China and played a role in many major historical events from the May Fourth Movement to the normalization of US-China relations. Beethoven became a hero to reformers, intellectuals, music lovers, and party cadres alike. The new Penguin Special “Beethoven in China,” by Stanford professor and orchestra conductor Jindong Cai and culture journalist Sheila Melvin tells the compelling story of Beethoven and the Chinese people.


Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford

Chinese, Japanese, Korean

With world-renowned faculty, talented graduate and undergraduate students, internationally-recognized library collections, and outstanding institutional support, Stanford University is home to one of the most distinguished East Asian Studies programs in the country. The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS), established in 1968, supports teaching and research on East Asia-related topics across all disciplines; disseminates knowledge about East Asia through projects of local, regional, national, and international scope; and serves as the intellectual gathering point for a collaborative and innovative community of scholars and students of East Asia.



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