Maestro Ma Xiaohui* is a world renowned, virtuoso Erhu** musician and composer from Shanghai, one of China's few first-class traditional artists who has achieved a thriving international career. Xiaohui introduced the Erhu to the West in 1997 through a series of concerts, festivals and CDs. In 2000 she played together with Cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Tan Dun's award-winning soundtrack for the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Xiaohui’s ongoing celebrity status is due to her amazing mastery of the Erhu, together with her ability to “speak from the heart” with mellifluous, unique music that deeply moves audiences around the world.
Raised in a university family and having played Erhu since age six, Xiaohui graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and served for 10 years as Concert Master and lead soloist for the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra. A leading “First Class Artist” in China, Xiaohui has a strong worldwide cross-cultural impact through her many creative talents. She now oversees the Shanghai Ma Xiaohui Art Center as producer and director, scheduling concerts around the world, composing and producing albums, writing books and lectures, and giving master classes as honorary professor at major universities.
More recently, Xiaohui has developed well-received internet programs for ZOOM events, etc., providing world class Erhu music, poetry and song, and TED-level talks (e.g., on the “Healing Power of Music”). Xiaohui currently serves on faculty at three major universities in Shanghai, and is a frequent visiting professor at other universities around the world.
Xiaohui has performed at major world venues such as Carnegie Weil Hall (her recital), The Kennedy Center (Jan, 2020), Lincoln Center, Hamburg Concert Hall, NHK Concert Hall, Vienna Golden Concert Hall, Paris National Concert Hall, London Concern Hall, Stockholm Concert Hall, Buenos Aires Teatro Colon, many festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, etc. Xiaohui has collaborated with world renown artists such as Lorin Mazel, Zubin Mehta, David Stern, Tan Dun, etc. She has performed with famous orchestras around the world such as the French National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Capetown Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic & Vienna Symphony Ensemble, etc. She has composed over 10 very well received original Erhu pieces, including “Spirit of My Erhu,” “The Story of Two Strings,” “Motherland,” “Shanghai Dream,” “Flow” and “Li Bai Meditation” (on this CD). Additionally, Xiaohui has arranged over 50 world music and/or classical pieces.
Xiaohui has become one of the most celebrated Chinese artists, reflected in the fact that nation official stamps have twice been released in her honor! She has also captured the imagination of art critics around the world, as reflected in The Oxford Times Weekend which wrote after hearing her perform: “Ma Xiaohui drew a kind of alto human voice bereft of words, but given song. It sounds so culture-free and universal that Ma Xiaohui’s gift, and vibrant musicality, shone out on us like light.”
Xiaohui has created over 20 CDs, covering a wide range of multicultural music that has gained her many fans. This latest recording, with Bryan Clark, "Wire and Wood" is the result of a multi-year collaboration exploring unique creative expressions of Erhu and Dobro. It is a rare and wonderful mix of traditional folk instruments from both sides of the globe and will take you on a journey that blends improvisation, classical composition, spoken word and American minimalism with traditional Chinese culture. This music has unique tone colors to inspire your imagination. East truly meets West, creating a very beautiful experience!
* Pronounced “Ma She-ow-whay”
** The Erhu is a “two-stringed violin,” and one of China’s primary traditional musical instruments (see “Erhu” in Wikipedia).