The Piano Is My Life – female pianist Zhou Guangren

Linked with Guangren Zhou – China.

Published on USC Research Computing Facility, by Zhao Shimin, translated by Elaine Chew, August 1997.

Exerpt: … The German school was on a half-day system, had a varied curriculum and was very strict. Apart from the usual languages, mathematics, nature classes, there were courses in English, Latin, physicaleducation, music and, of course, German. The teachers were all holders of doctorate degrees.

Guangren loved the learning environment at this school. Despite her being a non-German, she topped her class in practically every subject. She especially liked the physical
education and music classes. These music lessons laid the foundation for her illustrious career as a musician.

The school’s music lessons were too few to satisfy Guangren’s craving for music. As a result, she would often stand at the window, listening to the streams of piano music wafting out from houses, often forgetting to get home to eat. She herself could not tell why she thirsted after the sound of a piano so. Unfortunately, pianos were very expensive in Shanghai of the 1930s and her family could not afford a piano. However, when Guangren was nine, her family gave in and rented her a piano with the firm admonition to always put schoolwork first since piano playing should not be her future career …

… Since the retirement of the head of Piano Faculty at the Central Conservatory, Yi Kaiji, and the passing away of Zhu Gongyi, Guangren has served as the acting head. Apart from her administrative duties as department head, teaching duties, research projects, she has edited the satellite television’s middle and high school teaching text “The Basic Training of Piano Performance”, produced two volumes of “Beginning Piano Curriculum”, and written numerous articles on the teaching of piano to the masses.

Zhou Guangren has served many times on the panel of Beijing’s Xinghai Youth Piano Competition and the Pearl River Piano Compeition. Currently, as part of her many professional activities, she is a member of the National Artistic Education Board and National Piano Examination (Amateur) Expert Panel, and is an advisor to the Beijing Light Work Department’s Piano Manufacturing Division.

In recent years, Guangren has frequently visited the United States, Chile, France, Japan, Norway and Germany as a judge in international competitions or to lecture. Oftentimes, she would be advised to stay abroad, but she always refused. It would be easy for her to immigrate, two older sisters, an older brother, a son and a daughter now reside in England,
the United States and Germany. But she often says to her relatives abroad, “When you are old and want to come home, I am the faithful watchdog, preparing a nest for you.”

At the gentle persuasion of her longtime friend, Liu Shuoyong, she finally married him in July of 1990, thus ending her twenty-two years of living alone. (full text).

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