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Daily Practice

Liu Chi Kung, who placed second to Van Cliburn in the 1948 Tchaikovsky competition, was imprisoned a year later during the Cultural Revolution in China. During the entire seven years he was held, he was denied the use of a piano. Soon after his release, however, he was back on tour. Critics wrote in astonishment that his musicianship was better than ever. “How did you do this?” a critic asked. “You had no chance to practice for seven years.”

“I did practice,” Liu replied, “every day. I rehearsed every piece I have ever played, note by note, in my mind.”

Soundings, Vol. D, # 7, p. 23