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Reviews & Endorsements

“A colorful oral history.”

—China Books of The Year

“Beethoven in Beijing is, indeed, an ‘Ode to Joy.’ Jennifer Lin’s fine account of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 1973 trip to Mao’s China reminds us that sometimes, even in diplomacy, culture matters both as a signal and a catalytic agent.”

—ORVILLE SCHELL, China writer and author of My Old Home: A Novel of Exile


“When the Philadelphia Orchestra came to China, I was a teenager who listened to Beethoven in secret on an old wind-up phonograph. Their visit helped transform the course of musical history in China and around the world. Jennifer Lin’s book reminds us all of the power of music to connect people and change lives—and also of how much effort this requires. It’s a lesson we should all revisit.”

—JINDONG CAI, Professor of Music and Arts and Director of the US-China Music Institute at Bard College


“Jennifer Lin’s wonderful book reminds us of a time in U.S.-China relations where much was possible and the future was bright.”

—JOHN POMFRET, author of The Beautiful Country and The Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present

“An incredible story.”

—The Guardian

“Reading Jennifer Lin’s Beethoven in Beijing brought back the most vivid memories of the historic journey I was privileged to share with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Lin captures the exhilaration of our arrival to that mysterious and—until then—forbidden country in the fall of 1973. Her descriptions and the photographs that accompany them moved me deeply. Lin also restores for us the story of the remarkable friendships among musicians—Chinese and American—and our tiny band of fortunate journalists accompanying them. I was a very young reporter covering my first major story, and Lin’s book reminded me of the friendship that I most cherish from that groundbreaking trip: that with the brilliant maestro, Eugene Ormandy.”

—KATI MARTON, bestselling author of The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel

“An unsung story of musical diplomacy comes alive in Jennifer Lin’s Beethoven in Beijing. This is a vivid, engaging, and deeply researched account of how the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performances in Beijing and Shanghai in 1973—in the midst of both the Cultural Revolution and the U.S.-China rapprochement—warmed relations and helped launch an era that brought Americans and Chinese together in myriad new ways.”

—MARY KAY MAGISTAD, former China correspondent for NPR (1995–1999) and PRI/BBC’s The World (2003–2013)3

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