Cong Zhao is a world famous Pipa (Chinese lute) player. As a musician, dedication to Pipa has rewarded her with top prizes in national competitions. As a teacher, deep love for teaching has won her awards of education.
Cong Zhao was born in a family of musicians. She studied Pipa with her mother at very early age, and developed an extraordinary interest in this ancient Chinese instrument. At the age of 13, she won the First Prize in the Jilin Provincial Competition for Traditional Instrumental Music. At the age of 16, she won the Second Prize in the National Competition. In 1996, she entered the Central Conservatory of Music for her excellent performance, and followed Professor Guanghua Li, a renowned music educator in China. In 1998, Cong Zhao held her first solo concert in Beijing. After graduating in 2000, she won the First Place in a professional qualification test hosted by the Ministry of Culture and was then recruited as First Pipa Soloist in the Central Orchestra for Chinese Music in Beijing. She was later elected as a committee member of Young Excellent Artists by the Chinese Culture Ministry.
Cong Zhao has toured some 20 countries with a dozen of state leaders watching her performances and her music echoing on world-famous stages. In August 2000, she toured the United States and performed in the headquarters of United Nations. In November 2000, she accompanied the Ensemble in France and participated in the “China Cultural Season in France”. In February 2002, she toured in 13 Spanish cities and in April, she toured Japan and gave performances in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations. In June, she performed in the “China Cultural Season” in Athens, Greece; In October, she played in the Egypt Music Festival. In October 2004, she accompanied Mr. Jintao Hu, the president of China, in his visit to Ukraine and performed for eight other presidents. In February 2005, she visited Denmark and was warmly welcomed by the Danish Princess in person. In July of the same year, she was invited as a unique Chinese representative artist to perform in Korean International Music Festival. In November, she performed in a four-woman group with Richard Clayderman and toured in Asia.
From Lincoln Centre to Tokyo Concert Hall, from Carnegie Music Hall to Champs Elysees Theatre, from Athens Acropolis theatre to Amsterdam Music Hall, Cong Zhao has conveyed her understand of Chinese traditional music as well as her confidence and smile to every audience member who loves her beautiful Pipa sound. Her innovative Pipa was recognized as a patent. Her CD album Carman was distributed worldwide. Her latest production Dance in the Moon was made in Denmark. She embraces Pipa with great sentiments and spreads traditional Chinese music with deep patriotism.
Jindong Cai joined the Stanford University faculty in 2004 as the first holder of the Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies’ Chair and Associate Professor of Music in Performance. He is Music Director and Conductor of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, the Stanford Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Stanford New Ensemble. He is also the Artistic Director of the Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival, which he founded in 2005. Maestro Cai serves as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in China, and of the Mongolia State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet in Ulan Batar.
Before coming to Stanford, Professor Cai served on the faculties at the Louisiana State University, the University of Arizona, the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and the University of California at Berkeley. He held assistant conducting positions with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.
Born in Beijing, Mr. Cai received his early musical training in China, where he learned to play the violin and the piano. He came to the United States for his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. In 1989, he was selected to study with famed conductor Leonard Bernstein at the Tanglewood Music Center, and won the Conducting Fellowship Award at the Aspen Music Festival in 1990 and 1992.
Together with Sheila Melvin, Mr. Cai has co-authored several New York Times articles on the performing arts in China and a book Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese. The book was reviewed by The China Quarterly of Cambridge Journals, as “a delightful book. It opens up a cultural arena much neglected in scholarship on China.”
Reshi Tsering Tan
Reshi Tsering Tan is a key icon in the movement to preserve traditional music culture in Tibetan areas in China. Tsering Tan was born to a shepherd’s family on the grasslands of Maqu Town in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, China. He studied vocal performance and dance at Lanzhou Northwest Nationalities University and China Central University for Nationalities.
His first music album, Shangri-la, was published in 2007 and was produced by top musicians from China and Hong Kong. It received widespread attention at home and abroad.
In 2008, Reshi Tsering Tan established the Shangri-la Folk Music Preservation Association ("SFMPA"), a non-profit organization committed to the collection, preservation and inheritance of traditional music in Tibetan areas. Taking root in local communities, The SFMPA wishes to not only protect but also to spread Tibet’s folk music tradition across the rest of the world to share this great heritage with a wider audience.
Reshi Tsering Tan’s unique music style and his outstanding charitable contributions has been the focus of both national and international media attention, such as National Geographic Magazine, Phoenix TV, the Travel Channel, and China Youth Daily among others.
Mr. Rueibin Chen's distinguished career as an internationally-acclaimed pianist has earned him a reputation for technical brilliance, immense energy, and intense artistic expression.
He was invited to be the opening soloist in the 2010 World Expo in China, where he performed the Yellow River Concerto. Critics hailed it as the best performance of the iconic piece in its history. His masterful performances of Rachmaninoff's complete piano concertos (including the Paganini Rhapsody Op. 43) in two consecutive nights at Taiwan's National Concert Hall garnered significant critical acclaim. The performance was considered to be "the first of its kind and has left a sensational imprint in the minds of the overflowed audience." Such praise befits "one of those geniuses that come along once in twenty years." (Neue Zürcher Zeitungem)
A Chinese Austrian born in Taiwan, Chen won a total of eighteen medals, five of them gold, before the age of 20 in various international piano competitions in Tel Aviv (Rubinstein), Warsaw (Chopin), Salt Lake City (Bachauer), Athens (Callas), Vienna, Manresa, and Italy (Rome, Rachmaninoff, Bellini, and Stresa), to name a few.
Chen received his first piano lessons from his father when he was five. At the age of thirteen, he was selected by the government in a national talent search and was sent to Vienna, Austria, where he obtained a concert diploma from the Vienna Conservatory. Subsequently, he received a soloist's examination award from the Hannover Hochschule für Musik in Germany and then continued his study under the late legendary Russian pianist Lazar Berman as his only disciple of Asian descent.
In addition to his masterful artistry, Chen's humble background and the hardship he endured as a youngster growing up in Europe all by himself has inspired many young pianists, both in Asia and abroad. His unique blend of East/West sensibility, his Chinese heritage, his European upbringing and training, his modest personality and his inspiring personal story have earned him a significant following all over the world.
Stanford Chinese Music Ensemble
Stanford Symphony Orchestra
The Stanford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is the largest on-campus student music organization, supported by the Music Department and the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU). It presents approximately six concert programs each season. Winners of Stanford Symphony Orchestra’s annual Concerto Competition are regularly featured as guest soloists. In addition, the orchestra often collaborates with some of the world-renown artists, as well as performs in joint concerts with on-campus choral groups and the Stanford Wind Ensemble. Over the years, the orchestra has performed many major symphonic works, and premiered numerous works by Stanford composers. The SSO has visited many countries around the world. Under the direction of Maestro Cai, the orchestra has toured to Australia and New Zealand in 2005 and China in 2008 as part of Beijing Olympic Cultural Festival.
One of the most outstanding Chinese-American violinists, Suli Xue enjoys an active career on today’s international music stage. A member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, a Professor of Violin in the Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California, the Artistic Advisor of Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, the Artistic Director of the Schoenfeld International String Competition and the former concertmaster of the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China, Suli Xue has earned high acclaim around the world for his unique artistry.
Suli Xue graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and USC Thornton school of Music - a protégé of world-renowned violin professor, Alice Schoenfeld. He was frequently invited as a guest artist and faculty to teach and perform at International Music Festivals in United States and Europe. Recently, Suli Xue performed as a soloist with the YMF Debut Orchestra and Moscow State Symphony Orchestra for their New Year's Concert Tour. He also released two CD albums entitled Melodies of China and Golden Melodies. The albums were received with extraordinary praise and popularity in China as well as internationally.