Terrifying Chengdu?

As U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrives in the PRC, all manner of speculation is focusing on a “stealth jet fighter” currently in Chengdu, Sichuan province, as described in this Wall Street Journal story. (Hat tip to Robert Lopez at Sichuan University.)  Not to be outdone by the Air Force, the army headquarters in Chengdu decided to run some major combat drills over the weekend … Continue reading Terrifying Chengdu?

Bookworming, Burrowing, Heralding Schumann’s Rebirth

On a cold-by-Sichuan-standard evening not long ago, I teamed up with composer-pianist Gao Ping to present two collections of character pieces by Robert Schumann to a fine audience of literati in Chengdu’s hub of print and chamber music culture, The Bookworm. Alas, no sound recordings were made, but we made short work of the Fantasiestucke as well as the Five Pieces in Folk Style, and … Continue reading Bookworming, Burrowing, Heralding Schumann’s Rebirth

Contested Era, Blossoming Memory: Reconsidering the Early 1950s in the Present PRC

In walking around Chinese book markets, perusing Chinese newspapers, talking to Chinese scholars and intellectuals, and just plain thinking here in the PRC, the remarkable fact emerges of the enormous gap between what is printed and discussed here and how we talk about it back in the West. In other words, there are some thorny themes being worked out here in the PRC that seem … Continue reading Contested Era, Blossoming Memory: Reconsidering the Early 1950s in the Present PRC

Ai Weiwei and the Gates/Cambridge Police Debate

Ai Weiwei, perhaps China’s most prominent artist and a designer of the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, was yesterday smashed in the face by a cop in Chengdu when he, the artist, insisted that the officer identify himself.   While the parallels to the case of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates are multiple (e.g., famed social critic gets treated like a common criminal when confronting a minion … Continue reading Ai Weiwei and the Gates/Cambridge Police Debate

特爱的作现代作曲家,高平 / Gao Ping, Beloved Modern Composer

Here I lay claim to my friendship to Dr. Gao Ping, wonderful contemporary Chinese-cosmopolitan composer currently based in New Zealand. Long may he thrive! And let us not forget or hold against him that he has been blessed by Xinhua, if not the Central Committee of the CCP! 高平教授,伟大的作曲家!在 我的历史上,我的经过中,没有呢么人比他的创造性丰富; 尤其他最天才的作品,第一Cello Sonata 。 高平,我老战友,跟我在俄亥俄州辛辛那提成市读书,演出,给 我多少inspiration. 但是他的曲子在YouTube 还没发现,和我没有机会到新奇兰看他。。。老高!你在夏天回国呢? 听听他的最最短的接首。。。如果找到长例子的话,大众请指示! 他的简史 (我不批评,但是音乐家都用太多的别人[大名鼎鼎的]名字在他们的宣传中。。。对我来说,这方法有点讨厌,alors, 没办法, 我的简史也是这样): [Gao Ping’s Biography … Continue reading 特爱的作现代作曲家,高平 / Gao Ping, Beloved Modern Composer