Upcoming Concerts

Melody of China / Phil Young

Recipient of the 2023 Musical Grant Program by InterMusic SF, Melody of China will perform a newly commissioned work featuring traditional Chinese instruments by  Phil Young (Chinese name, Yang Zhi-Hua) in a concert on Sunday, May 12, 2024 at the Community Music Center in San Francisco along with selections from the traditional Chinese repertoire, and modern interpretations of popular Chinese melodies. This concert is graciously supported by SF Grants for the Arts. For more information, please visit: sfiaf.org.

May 12, 2024, 5pm
San Francisco Community Music Center
544 Capp St., San Francisco, CA 94110

SF Music Day 2023

Celebrate Bay Area music in all its diversity at SF Music Day, the Bay Area’s free, annual music festival in downtown San Francisco, presented by InterMusic SF. From chamber music to jazz, contemporary works to global sounds—SF Music Day showcases extraordinary musicians from across the Bay with music that spans continents and centuries. Come for the artists you know and love, and stay to discover new talents, enjoy fresh takes on familiar repertoire, and bask in the wealth of creativity from the world-class composers and ensembles of our region.

The 16th SF Music Day will feature the Melody of China ensemble, as well as 20 ensembles performing short sets over seven hours on four stages in the ornate War Memorial Veterans Building. SF Music Day is presented annually by InterMusic SF, an advocate for the Bay Area music community since 1998.

October 15, 2023; 12pm – 6pm
Melody of China at 6:00pm

San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Center
401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Lick Observatory: Music of the Spheres

Sounds of nature abound in the lively folk, regional, and classic melodies that Melody of China musicians perform on traditional instruments.

Returning to the Music of the Spheres are director Yangqin Zhao, playing the yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) – the instrument she was named for – and her sister, Gangqin Zhao, playing the guzheng (plucked zither) and percussion. Joining the ensemble is noted musician Thomas Lee, master of the 2-string bowed instruments, the Chinese erhu and gaohu.

With stellar musicianship and camaraderie, Melody of China adds a delightful musical interlude to the Lick Observatory night of galaxy gazing.

Based in San Francisco, Melody of China is California’s award-winning premiere Chinese music company, featuring small to large ensembles of conservatory-trained musicians, who perform for theaters, festivals, and special event audiences.  MelodyofChina.org

August 26, 2023 8:00pm
Astronomy Speaker: Dr. Claire Poppett
Lick Observatory: Music of the Spheres
Mount Hamilton, CA

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Lunar New Year Celebration at California Adventure Park

Come join us and celebrate the Year of the Rabbit to the folksongs and melodies of many traditional Chinese instruments at Disney California Adventure Park!

January 20 – February 15, 2023
Disney California Adventure Park
Paradise Garden Bandstand

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Melody of China Celebrates 30 Years!

Melody of China:
Songs of the Dragon 龍之音

Fri, January 6, 2023, 8:00pm
Sat, January 7, 2023, 7:30pm
Sun, January 8, 2023, 4:30pm

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Travel across the Pacific Ocean in this intriguing survey of Chinese traditional music with Melody of China (漢聲樂團), described in The San Francisco Chronicle as “innovating and dazzling.” Founded in 1993 and dedicated to promoting Chinese music in the Bay Area and beyond through scintillating concerts and educational outreach, Melody of China will delight SFEMS audiences using traditional Chinese instruments – hammered dulcimers, zithers, fiddles, lutes, mouth organs, and bamboo flutes – and historically informed techniques to showcase the remarkable diversity of Chinese musical traditions. Celebrate the new year again, but this time in lunar fashion!

Melody of China: Songs of the Dragon 龍之音

Presented by San Francisco Early Music Society

Fri, January 6, 2023, 8:00pm
Palo Alto, CA
First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto

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Melody of China: Songs of the Dragon 龍之音

Presented by San Francisco Early Music Society

Sat, January 7, 2023, 7:30pm
Berkeley, CA
First Congregational Church of Berkeley

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Melody of China: Songs of the Dragon 龍之音

Presented by San Francisco Early Music Society

Sun, January 8, 2023, 4:00pm
San Francisco, CA
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

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Recent Highlights

Montana Folk Festival 2022

“Performers with Melody of China play on Saturday at the Granite Street stage during the Montana Folk Festival. The group is a San Francisco-based Chinese chamber ensemble playing traditional Chinese music.”

Melody of China will perform at Montana Folk Festival 2022

“One of the largest free festivals of the North West”
The Montana Folk Festival is an annual outdoor summer event in Butte, Southwest Montana, that features over 200 acts by the nation’s best performers. The festival has six stages with continuous live performances for three days by over 20 groups. The event attracts about 175,000 people every year. This summer, the Melody of China will be performing at the Festival on July 10, 2022.

Melody of China performs at Lunar New Year: Disneyland California Adventure Park 2022

In celebration of Lunar New Year and the Year of the Tiger, Melody of China will be performing at the Paradise Garden Bandstand at Disneyland California Adventure from January 21 thru February 11, 2022! There will be exciting selections of Chinese instrumental folk music, as well as selections from Star Wars, Mulan, and more!

The Music Center on Tour 2023

In partnership with the The Music Center, Melody of China now offers pre-recorded virtual performances from the comfort of your classroom, as well as live performances. Audiences are introduced to Traditional Chinese instruments including the yangqin, pipa, erhu and sheng, and includes folk songs, classical, festival music, opera, popular music and instrumental pieces. The event offers fascinating selections that feature a blending of ancient cultural traditions of China and the youthful, multicolored American culture.

Bay Area’s premier Chinese chamber ensemble since 1993

Having been trained at top conservatories in China and the US, our artists come together to deliver captivating performances and enriching experiences through an exciting blend of traditional Chinese music, western music, and cross-genre works. Led by Artistic Director, Yangqin Zhao on the hammered dulcimer, Melody of China’s performances have reached international stages, world music festivals, residencies, and collaboration projects with renowned artists and composers from around the world.

The Melody of China is returning back on stage for an exciting program, with special guests Sirvan Manhoobi and Nariman Assadi on May 30, 1pm-2:45pm at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco Chinatown. This event is proudly presented by The Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. Tickets are free, and are limited to 50 seats per showcase.

Melody of China with Special Guests Sirvan Manhoobi and Nariman Assadi is made possible through the Musical Grant Program, which is administered by InterMusic SF, and supported by the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and San Francisco Grants for the Arts.

Yangqin plays Yangqin!

Artistic Director Yangqin Zhao celebrates Lunar New Year 2020 with a solo performance at the Washoe County Library.

Congratulations, Class of 2020!

Ms. Gangqin Zhao leads her Advance Ensemble from the Chinese American International School (CAIS) in “Beautiful Flowers and Full Moon” (花好月圆) last week in celebration for the Class of 2020! #classof2020 #congratulations

New Hybrid Concert Partnership

The Melody of China partners with The Music Center on Tour Program to offer Zoom live/pre-recorded concerts to schools. For more details, please contact The Music Center on Tour at (213) 792-4310.

SF Loves Learning 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our artists Gangqin Zhao (guzheng) and Thomas Lee (erhu) partnered with the San Francisco Symphony to appear on SFUSD’s educational show “SF Loves Learning” on KTVU Plus to introduce and share their music and their instruments.

CURRENTS: Enter the Pipa

Pipa Virtuoso Shenshen Zhang appears on the first episode of San Francisco Symphony’s new video and podcast series CURRENTS hosted by conductor Michael Morgan. In this episode, Shenshen shares her musical journey and upbringing in addition to collaborating with San Francisco Symphony musicians on an exciting piece by Bright Sheng.

Our Artists

Our artists are in-demand educators, performing artists and arts leaders with the sole vision of bringing Chinese traditional music and culture to the local communities and to the world. Having been trained at top music conservatories in China and the US, our artists can be heard performing on international stages and seen in classrooms working in schools and universities.

Past Event Highlights

Melody of China will perform with Vancouver-based Sound of Dragon in a special concert at the 2019 San Francisco International Arts Festival at Fort Mason Center. The program will feature performances by Melody of China artists: Yangqin Zhao on yangqin (hammered dulcimer); Gangqin Zhao on guzheng (zither); Wanpeng Guo on sheng (mouth organ); Shenshen Zhang on pipa (lute); Gary Schwantes on dizi (bamboo flute)/saxophone. They will be joined by guest artists Lan Tung on erhu (2-string bowed fiddle) and members of Sound of Dragon Ensemble featuring Chinese instruments with flute, guitar, cello and percussion. The concert program will feature new arrangements of traditional repertoire as well as several world premieres by composers from the U.S. and Canada.

Melody of China will premiere Yuanlin Chen’s latest work Coexistent Beauty  for yangqin, guzheng, pipa, sheng, dizi, bass clarinet, violin, cello, keyboard and electronics at Old First Church  in San Francisco on Friday, November 7th. Follow-up performances will take place at Yoshi’s Oakland on November 11th and the  Community School for Music and Arts in Mountain View on November 9th. The concert at Yoshi’s will include Chen’s piece as well as a new work for Chinese/jazz quartet(s) and a vocal performance by MoC’s own Gangqin Zhao.

Past Educational Outreach

Melody of China will be resident artists with the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music (AIM) , an interdisciplinary program integrating live music performances and related music education experience with everyday classroom lessons in language arts, social studies and other subjects. Melody of China artists will participate in performance and educational workshops in San Francisco public schools from January 13 thru May 23, 2014.

Melody of China will offer free after school music workshops to students on various Chinese instruments

Melody of China has begun their after school class at Sunset Elementary School . The free class offers students a chance to learn a traditional Chinese instrument. Instruments include: erhu (2-string fiddle), yangqin (hammered dulcimer), gushing (zither), pipa (lute), ruan (moon guitar) and paigu (Chinese percussion). The class is funded by the California Arts Council’s Artists in Schools program.

Our Grants and Sponsors

The Melody of China gratefully acknowledges the generous support of all our grant organizations and sponsors that has allowed us to continue our artistic mission in our education program and performance activities.

Support Us Today

You can support Melody of China’s education and performance programs by making a tax-deductible* donation. Your donation directly supports our latest concert program of traditional Chinese music, or newly commissioned works and collaborations with world-class artists. Your donation makes a huge difference and impact in keeping Chinese traditional music alive in the Bay Area communities and the world.

*Melody of China is a non-profit organization.
Tax-ID: 94-3307683

Yangqin Zhao
Executive and Artistic Director
(415) 215-7581

Mailing Address:
Yangqin Zhao
450A 2nd Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

© Melody of China 2022