WildChina Book Club: Beethoven in China

WildChina Book Club: Beethoven in China

WildChina Book Club: Beethoven in China

Available via YouTube only

For our November book club, we’ll be reading Beethoven in China in the lead-up to our chat with the authors, Jindong Cai and Sheila Melvin.

At the turn of the twentieth century, students returning from abroad brought Beethoven to China. The composer’s perseverance in the face of adversity and his musical genius resonated in a young nation searching for a way forward. Beethoven remained a durable part of Chinese life in the decades that followed, proving a remarkable chameleon; an icon to reformers, intellectuals, music fans and party cadres alike, playing a role in major historical events from the May Fourth Movement to the normalization of US-China relations.


Jindong Cai

WildChina Book Club: Beethoven in China

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.

Sheila Melvin

WildChina Book Club: Beethoven in China

Sheila Melvin is a writer and consultant who focuses on both culture and business. She 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 Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The San Jose Mercury News, The Wilson Quarterly, and other publications. Ms. Melvin is also a writer for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.


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2020 Nov 12


Pacific Time
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: 2020 Nov 12
  • Time: 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm


WildChina Book Club


  • Mei Zhang
    Mei Zhang
    Founder and CEO of WildChina

    Mei Zhang is the founder and CEO of WildChina. Under her leadership, WildChina flourished from a small Hutong operation into an award-winning business. Mei’s own expertise has led her to win a number of personal awards, including Travel and Leisure’s A-List of Top Travel Advisors, Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialist, and Wendy Perrin’s #WOW List of Travel Experts. Mei is an Aspen Institute China Fellow and currently serves as a member of Harvard Business School’s Alumni Board.