Notes of hope

Distinguished alumna: Jacqueline Beihua Tang, renowned pianist and a piano professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, is also president of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association alumni network in Shanghai. She received a master of arts in music from the University of Minnesota in 2000.

Unexpected detour: During a January vacation in Hawaii, Tang and her family learned they couldn’t return to their home in Shanghai because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Because there were no travel restrictions in the United States at the time, they decided to stay in the U.S. and visit a place that Tang remembered fondly: the University of Minnesota. 

Home away from home: “Minnesota and the University of Minnesota are like my second hometown,” says Tang, who lived in Minnesota for 12 years. “I have many teachers and friends that I often miss, so I wanted to go back to see them and do something for my alma mater as soon as I had a chance.”

Helping those in need: Within a week, Tang 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 COVID-19 pandemic.

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

In her words: “I'm glad that the live and online audiences loved the collection of Chinese piano masterpieces I played,” says Tang. “Music is a world language without borders. This pandemic is a rare disaster that human beings have to face together.”