Mao Tse-Tung (1893 – 1976), founding father of the People's Republic of China, concerned by the influence of western culture, forbade western music, eschewing classical music for traditional Chinese music—banning the piano altogether in what was called 'The Cultural Revolution.'
The movement, however, ended after his death in 1976 as the birth of 'piano fever' in China commenced, starting with the performance from Chinese musicians in 1977 of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
"The once-banned piano, in particular, has become the instrument of choice for upwardly mobile Chinese families and their children. Hearkening back to the parlor-piano days of the 19th century in the West, no Chinese family on the make today can afford to be without a piano in the house – or without a willing young musician to perform on it." [ 3 ]
Today, elite conservatories are brimming with Chinese students of the highest quality. James Undercofler, of The Philadelphia Orchestra, "called China's rising interest in classical music 'unbelievable.' After years of being denied access to it, China is in a period of discovery, he said: 'The music seems to speak to deep emotions in the Asian people.'" [ 4 ]