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Beethoven in China, Part Two: The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Power of Cultural Bridges

July 28 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

| Free

The US-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music and China Institute in New York City present an online series of webinar/panel discussions about “Beethoven in China,” to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Author Sheila Melvin and conductor Jindong Cai published the definitive book on the subject and will be hosting this series.

Sheila Melvin and Jindong Cai discuss their book, “Beethoven in China,” with particular focus on the historical background and the most influential people who were responsible for exploring Beethoven and his music in China.

July 28
Film Screening and Conversation
Beethoven in China, Part Two:
The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Power of Cultural Bridges

“Beethoven in Beijing”: a film preview screening and discussion. The new documentary film “Beethoven in Beijing” by Philadelphia’s History Making Productions follows the Philadelphia Orchestra’s journey in China, from its historic visit in 1973 to its most current engagement, exploring the development of Western classical music in China and the musical relationship between the two countries. Discussion will follow the screening with co-director and producer Jennifer Lin, author Sheila Melvin and conductor Jindong Cai, who is a consulting producer on the film.


A conductor, author, and educator with a distinguished career, Jindong Cai is the director of the US-China Music Institute, co-director of the Chinese Music Development Initiative, and professor of music and arts at Bard College. Prior to joining Bard, he was a professor of performance at Stanford University. Over the 30 years of his career in the United States, Cai has established himself as an active and dynamic conductor, scholar of Western classical music in China, and leading advocate of music from across Asia.

He has conducted most of the top orchestras in China, as well as orchestras across North America, and has written extensively on music and the performing arts in China. Together with his wife Sheila Melvin, Cai has coauthored Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese as well as Beethoven in China: How the Great Composer Became an Icon in the People’s Republic.

Jennifer Lin, co-director, producer and writer, lived and worked in China for four years as Asia correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She launched Beethoven in Beijing in 2015 after 31 years at the newspaper. For the film, Lin took four reporting trips to China. An award-winning reporter, Lin is author of two books, including a family memoir, Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal & Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

Sheila Melvin is a writer and consultant who focuses on both culture and business.

Sheila Melvin is the co-author, with her husband, the conductor Jindong Cai, of Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese, which was short-listed for the Saroyan Prize in 2005; Beethoven in China: How the Great Composer Became an Icon in the People’s Republic (Penguin, 2016), which was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered;” and The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra: Music Connecting Worlds (Sanlian, 2019 limited edition). Ms. Melvin’s writing on the arts in Asia, primarily China, has been published in The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street JournalThe Asian Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesThe Washington PostUSA TodayThe Los Angeles TimesThe San Jose Mercury NewsThe Wilson Quarterly, and other publications.

Ms. Melvin is also a writer for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.  Earlier in her career, she spent many years working for the US-China Business Council and established the Council’s first office in Shanghai. While there, she was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and addressed many international conferences, including the Fortune Global Forum.  She is the author of The Little Red Book of China Business (Sourcebooks, 2008).

Ms. Melvin returns to China frequently and is on the board of the Asia Society, Northern California.

Ambassador Nicholas Platt, Consultant, Writer, Lecturer.

After a 34 year Foreign Service career, Nicholas Platt served for twelve years at the helm of the Asia Society before becoming President Emeritus on July 1, 2004. Trained in Chinese (Mandarin) at the State Department Language School 1962-63, he began his career in Asia as a China Analyst at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong from 1964-68. In 1972 he accompanied President Nixon on the historic trip to Beijing that signaled the resumption of relations between the United States and China. He was one of the first members of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing when the United States established a mission there in 1973. He served in Canada and Japan and as U.S. Ambassador to Zambia (1982-1984), the Philippines (1987-91) and Pakistan (1991-92). Educated at Harvard College and Johns Hopkins SAIS, he is a member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, a board member of the Friends of China Heritage Fund Limited, Chair of the US-China Education Trust Advisory Board, and on the Christie’s American Advisory Board.  Since 2011, he has been the Senior Advisor on China programs for the Philadelphia Orchestra. His memoir China Boys was published in March 2010.

The US-China Music Institute was founded at the Bard College Conservatory of Music in 2017 by conductor and classical music scholar Jindong Cai and Robert Martin, a cellist, philosopher, and the founding director of the Bard Conservatory. The Institute’s mission is to promote the study, performance, and appreciation of music from contemporary China, and to support musical exchange between the United States and China. It is the most comprehensive institution for Chinese music in the West, with unprecedented degree programs and research and performance opportunities for students, artists, composers, and scholars around the world. barduschinamusic.org



July 28
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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