“Jean Michel Jarre The Concerts in China”

Jean Michel Jarre is a French composer and a pioneer in electronic music. He was the first Western musician invited officially by the Chinese government after the Cultural Revolution. Why it was electronic music rather than something more fitting and solemn like the classical music of Bach or Mozart. And how did it all happen? Did the audience like it? Why Jarre?

After Mao’s time, no Western music was allowed for 25 years, until in 1981, someone from the British Embassy in Beijing, curiously enough, gave Jarre’s albums to the Chinese radio. Nobody knew who slipped the music to the party leader or his fate after doing so. Prison or promotion? What we did know is that the man in charge of China at that time, Deng Xiaoping, wanted to send a signal to the world that China was opening. So Jarre came and gave two concerts in Beijing and three in Shanghai. To solve the problem of electric current stability, blocks of street lights in Beijing were even shut off. The whole thing was like playing on the moon.