In the spirit of Arthur Rubinstein, who once called Leonard Bernstein “the greatest pianist among conductors, the greatest conductor among composers, the greatest composer among pianists,” we offer Liu Sola: the greatest composer among singers, the greatest singer among novelists, the greatest novelist (thus far, anyway) among composers. Still composing, Sola (as she’s universally known) is now better known for her 1985 debut novel You Have No Choice—a candid look at young music composition students—which helped put the entire Class of 1978 on the map in China as intellectual celebrities.
Sola’s acute multitasking as composer, author, and rather uncategorizable performance artist have made her famous well beyond her catalogue of works.
Excerpt from Liu Sola Discourse on the Zither
Her restless imagination has made her reluctant to rest on her laurels (see a feature segment from CCTV 9’s Culture Express). Ask her which piece best defines her compositional voice and she responds (with the barest hint of irony), “the next one.”
Although Sola’s music is featured on only one program in Ancient Paths, Modern Voices, the website features an episode from her debut novel. This excerpt, from an unpublished translation by Nicolas Groffman, appears here for the first time in English.
Posted by Ken Smith