Portrait of Sheng Zhongguo (Photo: VCG)
China's best-known violinist Sheng Zhongguo, who was famous for his musical interpretation of "Butterfly Lovers," died of heart disease at the age of 77.
As a national level soloist of the China National Symphony Orchestra, Sheng was among the first to win honors for China on international stages. He was dubbed "Chinese Menuhin" for his musical talents.
In 1941, Sheng Zhongguo was born into a musical family. His father Sheng Xue was a famous violinist and his mother a singer. He began to play the violin at the age of five and gave his first public performance by the time he was seven.
During his lifetime, Sheng cooperated with top conductors and musicians in China and abroad. In 1979, he staged a performance with famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin during his visit to China, after which Menuhin praised him as "the best partner who played Bach Double Violin Concerto in China."
Sheng was listed as one of the "world's greatest artists" by Australian Broadcasting Corporation after his solo concert tour in four cities in Australia in 1980.
He performed many classical pieces of Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Beethoven, and also played works of Chinese style. His music has influenced generations of Chinese people.
Many fans expressed their grief on social media after Sheng's death. "The master has passed away, but his music lives on. May him rest in peace," said a netizen on Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo.