Spring 2020

Notes of hope


During a January vacation in Hawaii, Jacqueline Beihua Tang and her family learned they couldn’t return to their home in Shanghai because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Since there were no such restrictions in the United States at the time, they decided to stay in the U.S. and visit a place Tang remembered fondly: the University of Minnesota. Tang, who received a master of arts in music from the University in 2000 and is president of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s Shanghai network, says she considers the U of M a “second hometown.”

A renowned pianist and piano professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Tang says she wanted to do something to help those dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Within a week, she and leaders from the University’s China Center and the School of Music had planned a benefit concert to raise money for U of M infectious disease research and for international students affected by the pandemic.

More than 130 people attended the February 23 event, which concluded with “Ode to Joy,” from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Tang asked the audience to sing along.

“Music is a world language without borders,” she says. “This pandemic is a rare disaster that human beings have to face together.”

Watch Jacqueline Beihua Tang in concert:

UMN China Center