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Music & Artists

Shakuhachi player Kojiro Umezaki looking at a musical score with a student


Creating a Life with Music
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble conduct "Creating a Life with Music” workshops for advanced high-school music students. These workshops go beyond discussions of technique, incorporating performance and addressing ways for students to pursue careers in music in today’s global society.

Betti Xiang


"Xiang plays with a tone that can be sweet and singing or fierce and impassioned, and it arrives as if by magic from an instrument that at a distance appears to be little more than two crossed sticks resting on a little box."

Betti Xiang

Erhu (China) Renowned erhu soloist Betti Xiang has performed in distinguished venues all over the United States, where she has lived since 1996. She began performing with the Silk Road Ensemble in the 2006-2007 season. During her career, Xiang's extraordinary performances have graced well-known venues worldwide, including the Chicago Cultural Center, Fullerton Hall, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall, the Ravinia International Music Festival, Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, the Smithsonian Institute and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Xiang's music has also been featured on National Public Radio and Chicago's WFMT. Over the years, she has debuted new compositions by many celebrated composers, including Bruce Saylor, Conrad Tao, Huang Ruo, Victoria Bond, Patricia Morehead, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun and Chen Yi.

Among other honors, Xiang was the first solo musician invited to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a special guest, when she performed the famous Chinese concerto, The Butterfly Lovers, with conductor David Alan Miller in 1996. She performed the piece again in 2007 with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, Xiang was the guest artist at the inauguration of Chicago's Millennium Park, when she performed the erhu concerto, Crouching Tiger, by composer Tan Dun.

In addition to her work with the Silk Road Ensemble, Xiang regularly performs with the Lincoln String Quartet, Amelia Piano Trio, Newberry Consort early music ensemble, Cube Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Immigrant Orchestra, and at the Chicago Cultural Center. As Illinois' World Ethnic Artist, Xiang has given erhu demonstrations at Chicago Northwestern University, Michigan University, DePaul University, Columbia College and Northeastern University.

Xiang was born in Shanghai, China, where her father, renowned erhu master Xiang Zuying, introduced her to the instrument. She debuted as an erhu soloist in 1981 with the Shanghai National Orchestra, with which she traveled worldwide and presented the premieres of numerous well-known Chinese composers, including Zhu Jianer, Jin Fuzai and Lu Pei. In 1986, she received the coveted Young Artists Award for outstanding solo artist in both Shanghai and Beijing. In 2006, she recorded an erhu solo CD of her late father's music, Tunes of Countryside in Shanghai, China.




Artist website

Other Ensemble members from China
He Cui
Hu Jianbing
Jia Daqun
Li Hui
Liu Lin
Wu Man
Wu Tong
Yang Wei
DaXun Zhang
Zhao Jiping
Zhao Lin