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The Music of Gao Hong A Celebration of 50 Years of Making Music With Friends

April 3, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm CDT

Gao Hung at the Ordway

This April 3, Gao Hong will be celebrating her 50th year of being a performer; her accomplishments as a composer, improviser, and educator; and the 100th anniversary of her late teacher, Lin Shicheng’s birth. The celebration will showcase her deep connections and collaborations with an array of diverse cultures and her own compositions. Special guests will include rapper/singer Dessa, Minnesota Orchestra members Gabriel Campos Zamora (Principal Clarinet) and Erik Wheeler, (Cello), pianist Nikki Melville, her multicultural group Speaking in Tongues, (Gao Hong with Master Drummer, Sowah Mensah from Ghana, bassist Enrique Toussaint from Mexico, and local percussionist Marc Anderson); the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra with conductor Yuri Ivan and bassoon soloist Ye Yu; her award-winning student, Gus Holley; and the award-winning Carleton College Chinese Music Ensemble.

As a performer, Gao Hong had the good fortune of studying with the most famous pipa master, Lin Shicheng, at the Central Conservatory and throughout the rest of his life. She was his only student other than his son to tour and record with him. Their joint album, Hunting Eagles Catching Swans, was recorded in Minneapolis during their 1996 US tour and rereleased in 2020 by ARC Music in the UK. It was a Top 10 pick for Best World Music Albums Around the World by Songlines Magazine and climbed many charts throughout the world. The album was awarded two gold medals (Best Album and Best Instrumental) by the 2021 Global Music Awards and received stellar reviews worldwide. Since coming to America, Gao Hong has played worldwide as a soloist, with chamber ensembles, and as a guest soloist with prestigious orchestras (the SPCO, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, China Central National Orchestra, and many others) and on many world premieres. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Teatro Colon, San Francisco Jazz Festival, and at prestigious festivals throughout Europe, Australia, and China.

As an improviser, she has teamed with top musicians from other cultures including those from India, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Ghana, Somalia, and Mexico; and top players of bluegrass, klezmer, jazz, blues, Hawaiian, and western classical music. In this concert, she is excited to introduce audiences to her brand new collaboration with the amazing rapper/singer/writer Dessa.

Though her earliest composition was for solo pipa, she has since gone on to writing pieces for choir, chamber ensembles, and symphonies with commissions being awarded by the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Sinfonia, Kenwood Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis, VocalEssence, the Minneapolis Pops, and others. This concert will feature two world premieres: Nostalgia for pipa, clarinet, cello, and piano; and a new version of her popular overture Celebration performed by the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra and members of the Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble. Other pieces include two new collaborations with Dessa, her new pipa concerto, Reminiscences of My Hometown with the Kenwood Symphony; Quiet Forest, Flowing Stream with her multicultural group Speaking in Tongues, and Battle of Chu and Han with Gus Holley.

This concert will also showcase her dedication to education. As soon as she arrived in America, she began teaching students K-college and later founded the Carleton College Chinese Music Ensemble. She will feature one of her top Carleton students, Gus Holley, in a performance of her Battle of Chu and Han. Gus has won several international awards and became the only non-Chinese player to ever win a gold medal in a major competition in China. The Carleton College Chinese Music Ensemble also won a silver medal in the prestigious Dunhuang Cup competing with Chinese music ensembles from throughout the world.

Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door $15 for seniors, students, and Carleton alumni 

Ordway Box Office: BY PHONE 651.224.4222 M – F 10 AM – 4 PM F – Su Closed* *Except on performance days—open 1 hour prior to curtain through intermission. 


ONLINE NOTE: COVID-19 vaccinations or negative test results, as well as masks, will be required to attend all performances at The Ordway.


This performance is made possible in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


April 3, 2022
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm CDT
Event Category:


Artist Websites: Gao Hong Dessa Gabriel Campos Zamora Erik Wheeler Nikki Melville Kenwood Symphony Orchestra Speaking in Tongoue Ye Yu Gus Holley Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble Roz Tsai Shen Pei About IFTPA The Music of Gao Hong A Celebration of 50 Years of Making Music With Friends Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall 345 Washington Street St. Paul, MN
Saint Paul, MN United States
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