Prominent Chinese composer of Catholic sacred music dies at 70

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Antonio Geng Hui, mainland China’s most famous Catholic composer, died on Feb. 20 at the age of 70.

Geng was the choral artistic director of the cathedral in Tai Yuan in northeastern China’s Shan Xi province. He dedicated his life and his musical talent to the Church and to sacred music.

His work blended traditional melodic Chinese with traditional sacred music.

The faithful of the Diocese of Tai Yuan remembered the composer with “great emotion,” the diocese’s web site said.

From 1985 he taught music in the province’s Regional Major Seminary of St. John of Montecorvino, Fides news agency reports. He was a student of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Liturgy and began composing music for the Mass in Chinese.

Geng produced more than 30 pieces of popular sacred music that are used today during the Mass, including his 2006 work the “Mass of the Children.”

He was born into a Catholic family and served the Catholic Church from an early age as an altar boy and a choir singer. His work was foundational in advancing sacred music in the Catholic community of the Shan Xi province.

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