Extended Audio Sample

Download The Secret Piano: From Mao's Labor Camps to Bach's Goldberg Variations Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Secret Piano: From Maos Labor Camps to Bachs Goldberg Variations Audiobook, by Zhu Xiao-Mei Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (284 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Zhu Xiao-Mei Narrator: Nancy Wu Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781455875184
Regular Price: $14.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $13.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Zhu Xiao-Mei was three years old when she saw her first piano, a cherished instrument introduced into her family’s Beijing home by her mother. Soon after, the child began to play, developing quickly into a prodigy who immersed herself in the work of such classical masters as Bach and Brahms. Her astonishing proficiency earned her a spot at the Beijing Conservatory at the tender age of eleven, where she began laying the foundation for a promising career as a concert pianist. But in 1966, with the onset of the Cultural Revolution, life as she knew it ended abruptly. The Communist Party’s campaign against culture forced the closure of art schools and resulted in the deportation of countless Chinese, including Xiao-Mei and her entire family. She spent five years in a work camp in Inner Mongolia, suffering under abysmal living conditions and a brutal brainwashing campaign. Yet through it all, Xiao-Mei kept her dream alive, drawing on the power of music to sustain her courage. Download and start listening now!

BK_BRLL_003621

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Harrington | 2/19/2014

    " Straightforward first person story of the artist's life in China under Mao. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 2/17/2014

    " Zhu Xiao-Mei's memoir is invaluable to this reader (an American of the same generation) who cares to learn what a young girl's experiences were during China's communist experiment, better known as The Cultural REvolution. This is a book that I've been waiting to read, if I didn't know it until now. In the end, though, my favorite chapter was about The Goldberg Variations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 2/10/2014

    " This book was very sad to me. I had not known a lot about this period in Chinese history and the book was how it affected the artists, the author in particular. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 1/30/2014

    " Good book. Didn't know anything about Mao in China so this has peaked my interest to learn more. Lovely how she was able to overcome that intense period in her life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathryn | 1/18/2014

    " I loved this book! It's a fascinating autobiography of a woman who lived through the Chinese Cultural Revolution during her late teens and early 20s. Later she was able to complete her piano studies in the US and France. Her writing about piano music and performing is insightful. Highly recommended for pianists and musicians in general. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adelle Eslinger | 1/16/2014

    " A powerful and moving story of the Cultural Revolution in China and a testament to the power of art and music for mankind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie Clifford | 1/13/2014

    " This book was an amazing book, very well wrote. An easy and quick read. Gave a wonderful insight to the re-education in the Mao dynasty and and inspirational story of a girl that wouldn't give up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 1/6/2014

    " Pretty good book about woman who survives Cultural Revolution. One thing I really liked is her story after--seems like many books leave off close to the end of that period. Also the musical aspect was interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karin | 12/9/2013

    " Fascinating story of an amazingly talented woman coming of age in the time of the Chinese cultural Revolution. Her story is inspiring and I also learned about a suppressed and backwards time I knew nothing about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shirley | 11/24/2013

    " I waited too long to write this review, but I really enjoyed this book. It was fun after reading it to go on YouTube and watch her play. Very good story. Some of the composer talk would probably be a little boring for non-musicians, but still a great story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janet | 8/23/2013

    " I was unfamiliar with the Chinese Revolution, that part of the story was OK I thought the author repeated herself over and over. maybe it lost something in translation. I was rather disappointed with the book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aimee | 7/30/2013

    " Excellent book about China and time in history I knew nothing about. Well worth reading! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marysue | 6/23/2013

    " a very detailed book of the life of a child who grew up during the cultural revolution. Insight into a struggle of a life dedicated to becoming a pianist and the toll the cultural revolution took on families and and the creative spirit of China. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn Robertson | 5/2/2013

    " Wow. Mao. A fascinating inside look at the Cultural Revolution. Also, I love when books have side-effects... the passion the author writes with has me listening to classical music! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 4/4/2013

    " I really liked this book. Another look into the China we know so little about but more importantly, it is a great look at the toll the Culteral Revolution and Great Leap Forward took on the Chinese people. Hopefully, their future will be better than their past. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue Koontz | 4/1/2013

    " An interesting memoir about the affects of the Chinese Cultural Revolution on young pianist. A study on how people can be lead down a road of destruction by leaders, but then the personal struggle to find your way back. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandra | 1/27/2013

    " If you play classical piano or are interested in classical music, this would be an interesting read from a technical point of view. I felt it was more about the music than the author's experiences in revolutionary China. I found it quite hard to relate to the author as I read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chung-yee | 1/25/2013

    " I liked the story and learning about life in China during the time period. I also enjoyed the musical aspects and her insights and feelings of how life issues affected her playing over the years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J.edeker | 9/16/2012

    " Awesome book, really makes me feel how privilege I am to have been born in a country were my voice is heard. I is unbelievable that a whole generating of people in China were deprived of an education. This is a must read for every one. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Zhu Xiao-Mei was born in Shanghai, China. A prodigious pianist, she was well-known in China by age ten, but her education was cut short by the Cultural Revolution. After five years in a labor camp in Mongolia, she returned to China, before moving on to the United States and finally Paris, France, where she has lived and worked since 1984. She teaches at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique and has performed for audiences on six continents. She is one of the world’s most celebrated interpreters of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

About the Narrator

Nancy Wu has narrated audiobooks since 2004, winning three AudioFile Earphones Awards. A New York theater, television, and film actor, she has recorded in studios all over the world—from Italy to Switzerland to Thailand. Her credits include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Hope & Faith, All My Children, Made for Each Other, and the Oscar-nominated film Frozen River.