Wang Guowei
Artistic Director
Erhu Soloist

Wang Guowei is one of the most outstanding erhu soloists of his generation. Born 1961 in Shanghai, Wang Guowei joined the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra at age 17, later becoming erhu soloist and concertmaster. He also earned a degree from the Shanghai Conservatory with a major in erhu performance. He gained national prominence in garnering prestigious awards including the "ART Cup" at the 1989 International Chinese Instrumental Music Competition and for his performances at the 15th annual "Shanghai Spring Music Festival." Wang Guowei has toured with the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra to Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Belgium, Canada, and the U.S.

As editor, producer and host of music programs for the Shanghai Radio and East Radio, Wang Guowei introduced music by contemporary composers to Chinese audiences. His performances on the erhu, including his own compositions and arrangements, have been recorded on CD and cassette tape in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia. He is also a prodigious author of articles and papers published in major Chinese music journals. Wang Guowei founded and directed the East Radio Invitational Artists Chamber Ensemble in 1994 which gathered the most outstanding Shanghai musicians to perform classical and contemporary Chinese music.

Wang Guowei is equally versatile playing the classic repertoire of the erhu as well as new music composed for the instrument and its family of 2-string fiddles. He has performed the music of Zhou Long, Anthony Braxton, Jason Kao Hwang, Pan Hwang-Long, Zhu Jianer, among others.  A composer himself, Wang Guowei has written music for Chinese and Western instruments, including "Sheng," a solo for erhu which he premiered in 1996. He visited Australia in 1997 with a grant from the Australian Ministry of Culture to compose "Tea House." It received its premiere in Melbourne and was broadcast by ABC Radio National and recorded on CD. He was commissioned by the Ethos Percussion Group to write "Two Pieces for Percussion Quartet" which premiered at Weill Recital Hall on March 4, 2000. He is recipient of a commissioning award from the American Composers Forum for "Three Chinese Poems" for Music From China. Wang has performed with the New Music Consort, Peabody Camerata, Norfolk Chamber Consort, Four Nations Ensemble, Ethos Percussion Group, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Ornette Coleman Trio.

Wang Guowei assumed the position of Artistic Director of Music From China in 1996. In addition to performing, he also teaches erhu and is on the faculty of the Wesleyan University music department as a private lesson instructor and director of the Wesleyan Chinese Music Ensemble.

Watch streaming video for "The Moon Reflected in the Erquan Pool"

Watch streaming video for "Fiddle Suite"

Awards & Activities

  • Commissioned by Ethos Percussion Group to compose Kong' Wu for percussion quartet which premiered at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in March 2000.

  • Performed gaohu concerto Butterfly Lovers with the Virginia Symphony conducted by JoAnn Falletta (March 2000).

    "…. one could enjoy the beautiful playing of Wang Guowei, the evening's soloist. Playing a gaohu, a type of Chinese violin, he produced a sound that was as unusual as it was hypnotic."
    Paul Sayegh, The Virginian-Pilot (Mar. 20, 2000)

  • Recorded erhu in soundtrack for the movie "The Corruptors."

  • Performed in Zhou Long's Rites of Chimes with Yo-Yo Ma at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington DC (Sept. 2000)

  • Performed with legendary jazz artist Ornette Coleman and the Ornette Coleman Trio at their sold-out "Global Expressions" concert at London's Barbican Centre (March 2001).

  • Wang Guowei was featured erhu soloist in Jason Kao Hwang's chamber opera The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown of which NY Times critic James Oestreich wrote: "Mr. Hwang's wildly eclectic score is particularly notable for the role given the erhu, a two-string Chinese fiddle (beautifully played here by Wang Guowei)…"

    "What the audience has heard, in lovely interchanges with the voices, is an erhu-a two-string Chinese fiddle….gorgeously played by Wang Guowei."
    James Oestreich, The New York Times (Oct. 31, 2001)

  • Participation in the orchestra of Bun-Ching Lam's chamber opera Wenji: Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute at the Asia Society (Jan.-Feb. 2002).

  • Wang Guowei's erhu concerto for Music From China funded through the American Composers Forum's Composers Commissioning Program will have its world premiere in Fall 2002 at Merkin Concert Hall.

    More Praise for Wang Guowei's Performance….
"The technique and artistry of these musicians is outstanding, but the star of the ensemble was Wang Guowei, whose mastery of the erhu, the gaohu and the zhonghu, three Chinese two-stringed fiddles of increasing size, is phenomenal…. In the hands of a master like Wang, however, this simple instrument can sing, talk, imitate bird calls and weep in an emotional language that cuts through any cultural barrier."
Joe & Elizabeth Kahn, Duke University Chronicle (Feb 2000)

"…. Paul Rudy's 'Fantasie' challenged erhu virtuoso Wang Guowei to mimic the styles of Texas swing and bluegrass fiddle, among others, accompanied by a 'virtual ensemble' of recorded electronics… It was a rollicking good time."
Mickey Coalwell, The Kansas City Star (Jan. 20, 2001)

"…. the piece which left the most enduring impression was 'Sails Returning to Yabase.' Its erhu solo, which showed off the astonishing technical ability of Wang Guowei …. lifted the piece and the spirts."
Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey (Nov. 22, 2000)

"I wondered at one point who was singing on stage and finally realized that it was the erhu in its highest register which created such a human vocalise sound. It only cemented my rising opinion of the erhu…. I was ready to hear Berlioz' Harold in Italy with Mr. Guowei and his two erhus. What a full sounding and expressive instrument."
Paul Somers, Classical New Jersey (Nov. 22, 2000)


Erhu Solos
Listening to the Pines
The River Flows Silently By
A Village Montage
On the Grasslands
Riding with the Wind
Spring is Here
Birds in the Forest
Lament of the Twin Stars
Variations on the Song of Yang Guan
Autumn Moon Over a Tranquil Lake
Triumphant Return
A Shandong Melody



Erhu & Piano
Sanmen Gorge Caprice
Ballade of Yubei
Listening to the Qin
The Sun Lights Up Tashikurgan


Erhu and Symphony Orchestra
Butterfly Lovers
The Moon Reflected in the Erquan Pool
The Fisherman's Night Song
Six Taiwan Folk Songs

Contemporary Works
Sheng for solo erhu
Tales from the Cave for erhu and percussion quartet
Folds of Light for erhu, piano and percussion

Music From China
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All contents copyright Music From China 2004. This site authored by Vincent Chiu.