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Violinist Gil Shaham And A Love Story For All Time

On this week's Crossover, you'll hear the story behind The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto. WRTI's Jill Pasternak speaks with the world-famous violinist Gil Shaham about his recording of the highly acclaimed work, which is an orchestral adaptation of a popular Chinese legend.

Written in 1959 by composers Chen Gang and He Zhanhao while they were students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the concerto  premiered in the same year featuring renowned violinist Yu Lina. Although instantly popular, the concerto was banned by the Communist regime during the Cultural Revolution and the composers were jailed. The story resembles a Romeo and Juliet tale. But it's also about reincarnation as the lovers become butterflies.

Hear Gil Shaham tell the story of the piece, his first encounter with the music, and his views on how The Butterfly Lovers transcends politics.

An operatic interpretation of The Butterfly Lovers was performed in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic festivities.