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“Beethoven in China”— In Commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s Birth

December 12, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

| Free

At the turn of the twentieth century, students returning from abroad introduced 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 has 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 normalization of US-China relations.

First introduced to China in 1906, he inspired intellectuals like Lu Xun, who considered him a role model for dedication and aesthetic taste, and aspiring musicians. As a man who refused to bow to royalty, Beethoven was celebrated by the Communist Party in the early days of the revolution before he was banned for composing bourgeois music in the cultural vacuum of the 60s and 70s. After the Cultural Revolution and the death of Mao, a “Beethoven Fever” would sweep the country, presaging his present-day popularity.

In commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the Renwen Society presents a special lecture by the conductor and music scholar Jindong Cai on Beethoven’s musical, cultural, and social legacy in China.  Cai is the co-author, along with his wife Sheila Melvin, of the book ‘Beethoven in China,’ considered to be the definitive work on the subject. Cai is also director of the US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, which is dedicated to promoting the study, performance, and appreciation of music from contemporary China, and to support musical exchange between the United States and China.

Beethoven in China will be the second of eight online events on ‘China and Beethoven’ in the 3rd annual China Now Music Festival, taking place from Dec 11 to Dec 18. Learn more at barduschinamusic.org/china-and-beethoven.

Free, but advanced registration is requested.


被誉为音乐之圣的贝多芬,在20世纪初开始由李叔同大师首先介绍进入中国大众的视野,并渐渐影响了中国社会。当贝多芬开始介绍到中国的时候,学者和翻译家们对其译名也无奇不有:“比独芬”、“悲多汶”、“华妥分”、“培陀文”、“贝多忿”、 “白提火分”等等,直到1946年傅雷先生翻译罗曼罗兰的《贝多芬传》出版,终将这位乐圣的中文译名以“贝多芬”确定下来。



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December 12, 2020
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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