I learnt very quickly about the proverbial guanxi (connections)
which greases the wheels of all contact between people in China.
Through such an arrangement, I managed to get relatively inexpensive
(160 yuan per day which is cheap for "foreigner" rates) accommodations
at the Foreign Experts Quarters of the China Radio Station, literally
right across the main thoroughfare (Fuxingmenwai Dajie) from the
Central Conservatory. I was billed as the "personal guest" of Mr. Yu,
who was the friend of Ms. Zeng, who was a family friend of Prof. Kwei,
who was a friend of my father. I all but met Mr. Yu for the brief 5
minutes in which he put in an appearance on the day I checked in.
Mindful of this custom, I had contacted Cathy Chan (Tan Jialing) of
the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts based in Lincoln, MA,
before I embarked on my trip. She sent me a personal letter of
introduction to Mrs. Jiang Wenye (widow of the famous composer), as
well as a package for her containing compact disks and recent concert
programs of events sponsored by her organization. Cathy also gave me
several names of US-based Chinese musicians, through whom I further
gained contact names and phone numbers of their friends and family
members in Beijing.