China, Culture, Pianos, and the Bosler House

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken recently raised concerns about China and its aggressive attitude toward the world. Everyone is predicting China is going to beat the USA on all fronts this year. I know China is already beating us in the battle of world classical music. 

Let me remind you of the notorious cultural revolution which China’s insane dictator Mao Zedong foisted on the people of China in 1966. He ordered people to destroy all musical instruments, burn all the books, beat all the teachers, destroy art works and ancient artifacts. If citizens tried to hide pianos or violins or books, the Red Guards, Mao’s true believers, would beat them, humiliate them, and parade them through the neighborhood with signs on their chest  indicating their crime, “This capitalist revisionist tried to save a violin.”

No one was safe from Mao’s fanatic hoards. Deng Xiaoping, a future Chinese president, was purged in 1967. His father was humiliated, beaten, and sent into exile. The future president’s half-sister was persecuted to the point that she decided to end her life. Chinese officials are still very defensive about the irrational atrocities committed during the Cultural Revolution. If anyone today dares to write a book about the period, one’s books can be confiscated and ideas suppressed. The Chinese Communist Party does not want the truth out about their destructive cultural revolution. Many Americans have never heard of this cultural revolution. 

This national insanity lasted until 1976 when the people and even the Communist Party tired of Mao and his culture revolution of destruction. Confucius and classical music from the west won out and Mao and the Gang of Four, including his ruthless wife, committed suicide in face of a trial for high crimes.They did not keep records but during the Cultural Revolution, millions of people were beaten tortured and even killed for resisting the government imposed lunacy against Western music and musical instruments.

But China and the beaten Chinese people are truly resilient and brought back musical instruments, books, art, and historic treasurers. They brought back long hidden musical scores by Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. Chinese parents know that teaching their children classical music early in life expands their minds, broadens their students’ horizons, uplifts their spirits, increases creativity, and improves scores in other subjects like math, sciences, and aesthetics. Today China is winning the battle for classical music in their schools and at home.   

Did you know that over 80% of the world’s pianos are now made in China? Did you know that 40 to 60 million children in China are studying classical music on their home pianos? Records are sketchy but it is believed almost as many Chinese children are learning to play classical music on the once forbidden violin. In the USA, the percentage of children learning classical music is falling at home and in schools around our country. 

We in Denver can’t help Anthony Bliken as he plays ominous international chess with China’s lead on overwhelming us on so many international and national fronts. 

But there is one small step you can take in this great cultural battle  to help our country meet the challenge of the great international cultural music struggle. 

On Sunday May 16th, at 2 PM the beautifully restored historic Bosler House on the west side of Highland Park on West 32nd, not far from Woodbury Library Upbeat Colorado is hosting a fundraiser. The garden fundraiser helps pay for classical music classes for students in our area. At the Sunday, May 16th concert, the children studying classical music  will be offering a concert to let you know what great progress they are making with the help of teachers from Upbeat Colorado. Upbeat Colorado is a Colorado non profit and any donation you give is tax deductible. We suggest a donation of $30 a person. Refreshments will be served. The teachers cut their salaries to teach the lucky students from our area.

The details of the Upbeat Colorado event can be found below. Please tell your friends and neighbors.



  1. As always Dennis, your article is informative and captivating. I do appreciate the historical background regarding Mao’s so-called cultural revolution and the state of classical music in China and the USA, but I’m not sure I can agree with you that this is a “great cultural battle.” Wouldn’t it be better for us and China if we didn’t approach every interaction with them as a “battle.”? In any case, again, thank you for writing…your article for the Denver North Star; your story is always the first thing I read each month!

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