The beating soul of music

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The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra hosts a birthday party for double bass player Zheng Deren on Wednesday. [Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Symphony orchestra holds a concert in honor of groundbreaking double bass player Zheng Deren, who just turned 100.

China's groundbreaking double bass player Zheng Deren turned 100 years old this week, according to traditional Chinese custom which gives a year's age to a newborn. The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra hosted a concert on Wednesday to celebrate his storied life.

Such was his talent in playing the double bass that nearly all early bassists in China are his students or students of his students.

"We are all fruits that fell from the same tree," says Lu Yuanxiong, the double-bass professor at the Texas Christian University in the United States, during his interview with China Daily.

The winner of numerous international competitions and the artistic director of the TCU International Double Bass Festival, Lu studied with Zheng for seven years, from 1977 when he was admitted to the middle school attached to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music until his graduation from the institution.

"You can hardly find another musician like Mr Zheng in the world. He has contributed so much to the performance, education and music creation of an instrument," says Lu.

In a letter congratulating Zheng on his centennial birthday, David Neubert, former president of the International Society of Bassists, wrote:"Professor Zheng has had a major impact on the world of double bass performance and teaching. I was fortunate to have met him twice when visiting Shanghai with Professor Lu Yuanxiong and was very impressed to see that he was still actively conducting an orchestra, playing jazz and teaching the double bass.

"His charming personality and passion for music has certainly been a key component to his longevity. Thank you again Professor Zheng for all you have done in the world of double bass."

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