Talent is a ticket. Some people use it to nail auditions, others to get into a top school. Jia Pengfang used his to see the world, and his particular talent was the erhu.

Born in 1958 in China’s northeast province of Heilongjiang, Jia picked up the traditional stringed instrument after turning 8 — in the same year the Cultural Revolution began. While many artists and writers were being sent to the rural reaches of Red China, Jia, the youngest of five children, began dreaming of life in the capital.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.