Caixin
Apr 04, 2015 02:04 PM

Committed to Memory

Gu Shengying poses with other famous young Chinese pianists, all recipients of awards at international competitions, in a photo taken September 20, 1960
Gu Shengying poses with other famous young Chinese pianists, all recipients of awards at international competitions, in a photo taken September 20, 1960

Over the many years I have spent writing about art and politics in China, I have heard countless stories of the tribulations to which supremely talented and dedicated artists and musicians were subjected during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76). Many of these tales are inspirational – because the artists survived, carried on, even forgave – but some involve acts so cruel and unjust as to be virtually inconceivable. The stories of two musicians in particular – Gu Shengying and Lu Hongen – have long haunted me, in part because their losses remain so raw to those who knew them.

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