Friday Night Musical Outro: Zhou Guangren – Xinjiang Dance No. 1

Zhou Guangren 周广仁 is probably China’s most famous musician you’ve never heard of, the country’s first pianist to win an international prize. Born in Hannover, Germany, in 1928, her Chinese parents eventually settled in Shanghai, where she attended a German school before withdrawing in the early-40s due to its fascist, pro-Hitler teachings. Her dad was adamantly opposed to her piano training, believing she was too smart to make a career out of music, but she persisted, and after the war was convinced to stay in China to teach at the Central Academy. The good years were interrupted much too soon, however. Like other artists, she suffered during the Cultural Revolution, losing her husband to suicide and the use of her left index finger to overwork. Yet would you believe, after all that, her musical career wasn’t even half over? You’ll want to read this if you’re interested in learning more. If you have access to YouTube, here are more of her recordings.

    One Response to “Friday Night Musical Outro: Zhou Guangren – Xinjiang Dance No. 1”

    1. Jess

      I suggest Zhou Xiaoyan, the first major figure of Western opera in China. She’s a French-trained coloratura soprano who has taught just about every Chinese opera singer who has made it on the international stage, including Liao Changyong.
      She’s in her mid-90s now, I think, and still teaching.

      An actress lipsyncing to Zhou’s singing in a Mao era movie; also includes, as usual, ethnic minorities dancing:


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