ABC4 – Plight of immigrants takes center-screen in Utah Symphony’s ‘Casablanca’

By Andrew Reeser

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – This weekend, the Utah Symphony performs the score to one of the most iconic films of all time – Casablanca. 

It’s the story of Rick and Ilsa, star-crossed lovers torn apart by war. The film features a cast of immigrants to the United States, and the film happens to be all about the plight of the immigrant or refugee.

A plight familiar to Wen Yuan Gu, associate principal second violinist for the Utah Symphony.

“I always think about my grandparents and my father and what they went through to get here,” said Gu, who came to America at age 19.

During her early years, China’s bloody Cultural Revolution was at its height. Gu said her educated parents encouraged her to study music, but she had to practice her violin in secret to avoid being punished by the government. Educated individuals like Gu’s father were deemed enemies of the government. Gu said her grandfather was sent to a labor camp for his politics.