Portrait of Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820 (detail).
Chairman Mao banned all classical music in 1966, but that didn’t stop some from listening to the music they loved, sometimes as an act of rebellion. Beethoven was a favorite. Jindong Cai, director of the US-China Music Institute at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, talks about a life-changing moment as a teenager: secretly listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 on a scratchy gramophone at a friend’s house.