Artist Spotlight: Gao Hong

Gao Hong: Pipa

This year, the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra is proud to welcome friend Gao Hong to the stage to present the world premier of a new work for pipa and orchestra.

Here is a bit more about her:

Gao Hong: Pipa
Gao Hong: Pipa

            Gao Hong, Chinese musical prodigy and master of the pear-shaped lute, the pipa, began her career as a professional musician at age 12. She graduated with honors from China’s premier music school, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she studied with the great pipa master Lin Shicheng. In both China and the U.S. Gao has received numerous top awards and honors, including First Prize in the Hebei Professional Young Music Performers Competition and an International Art Cup in Beijing. In 2005 Gao Hong became the first traditional musician to be awarded the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship, and in 2012 she became the only musician in any genre to win four McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians.  The Minnesota State Arts Board has awarded her an Artist Assistance Fellowship, Artist Initiative Grants, Arts Learning Grants, Folk & Traditional Arts Grants, an Arts Tour Minnesota Grant, and a Cultural Community Partnership Grant. In 2013 she was received a grant from the Sorel Organization in New York City to produce a CD of works from her recent multicultural production, “Lutes Around the World” where she combines her pipa with banjo, oud, slack key guitar, ukulele and classical guitar.

            Gao has performed throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the U.S. in solo concerts and with symphony orchestras, jazz musicians, and musicians from other cultures. She has performed at many major festivals worldwide. Her performances have included those at the Lincoln Center Festival; Carnegie Hall; the San Francisco Jazz Festival; the Smithsonian Institution; the Next Wave Festival; Festival d’Automne a Paris in Paris and Caen, France; the International Festival of Perth, Australia; and the Festival de Teatro d’Europa in Milan, Italy. Her performances of pipa concerti with symphony orchestras include several world, U.S., and regional premieres and performances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, Heidelberg (Germany) Philharmonic, the Women’s Philharmonic (San Francisco),  Portland (Maine) Symphony, Acadiana Symphony, Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, Rochester Symphony, Duluth Symphony, St. Olaf Orchestra, and others. In addition, she performed with the Lincoln Center production of “The Peony Pavilion.”

            As a composer, she has received commissions from the American Composers Forum, Walker Art Center, the Jerome Foundation, Zeitgeist, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, Theater Mu, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, IFTPA, Danish guitarist Lars Hannibal, and Twin Cities Public Television for the six-part series “Made in China.” Meet the Composer Inc. in New York City has awarded her two Creative Connections grants, two MetLife Creative Connections grants and a Global Connections grant.

            Gao Hong is currently Lecturer in Chinese Instruments at Carleton College where she also directs the Chinese Music Ensemble.  She has been a roster artist with the Minnesota State Arts Board and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s CONNECT Program and is also a Guest Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.