piano

Suzette Grillot reports from Istanbul, where she speaks with University of Oklahoma economist Firat Demir about the international response to Monday's deadly tornado in Moore, Okla., and political problems facing Turkey.

University of Oregon political scientist Richard Kraus joins the program for a conversation about how art and culture become a testing ground between the United States and China. He's the author of author of Pianos and Politics in China: Middle-Class Ambitions and the Struggle over Western Music.

Harry Wad / Wikimedia Commons

Art, culture, and politics are closely linked in China, and until the mid-1960s Cultural Revolution government officials viewed Western classical music as an unwelcome outsider.

“For a while the piano was regarded as the ultimate expression of the bourgeoisie,” says Richard Kraus, a University of Oregon political scientist and the author of Pianos and Politics in China: Middle-Class Ambitions and the Struggle over Western Music. “[Then] Mao's wife decided she liked the piano, and there was then sort of the idea that you need to adapt Western technology and art to serve Chinese political purposes. So after about 1968 the piano was alright.”