Gangqin Zhao

Guzheng soloist, Yangqin, and Teaching Artist
Member of Chinese Musicians’ Association

Multi-instrumentalist, Gangqin Zhao, is a renowned performer and teacher. She first studied the yangqin under her father ever since childhood, and quickly found herself performing on stage at the age of eight. At age 14, she began studying the guzheng (Chinese zither) and the Chinese xylophone under the well-known music educator and the board director of the China Musician’s Association, Jiangsu Branch.

In 1987, she attended the Music Department of Nanjing Normal University, where she studied guzheng under Professor Yongmei Tu and Assistant Professor Aihua Yang in the Music Department of Nanjing Academy of Arts; and studied the yangqin under famous yangqin master Yangqin Zhao. While a student at the Nanjing Normal University, she has toured to Singapore with the University’s “Teachers & Students Visit Group,” receiving the University’s honors as “Ten Best Singers,” and became Music Faculty of guzheng and yangqin at the Nanjing Children Music & Dance School. 

In 1996, she took part in the editing the music book published by Jiangsu Province School District, and has been used and distributed to music students nationwide. Soon after, she became certified by the Jiangsu Educational Committee.

In 1998, she expanded her music performance and teaching career to the United States, and was soon invited as a multi-instrumentalist by Young Imaginations, Inc. for performances and educational programs across numerous schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, she has been invited to perform at the Silk Road Festival at Skirball Center, Los Angeles, major concerts with the “Peony Pavilion” Group of New York Lincoln Center Performing Arts at Denmark International Folk Festival (2000) and Berlin International Folk Festival (2001), and Chinese New Year Concerts with the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall (2004, 2005).

As a vital member of the Melody of China since 1998, she has performed throughout all major cities on the west coast and has toured extensively across the United States, performing in their annual concerts, leading music workshops at numerous schools through SF Symphony’s Adventures in Music Program (AIM), participating in university residencies, and recording numerous albums in collaboration with the Del Sol String Quartet, composer Yuanlin Chen and Gang Situ, and many more. With the Melody of China, she has brought Chinese music to numerous venues in California, including Cal Performances (UC Berkeley), the Music Center of L.A. County, Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts (San Francisco), San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, Davies Symphony Hall, Herbst Theatre, Fort Mason, San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, Flint Center (Cupertino), CSU Chico, Petaluma Summer Festival, Sonoma Folk Festival, Asian American Jazz Festival, and Stern Grove Festival.

From 2002-2017, Ms. Gangqin Zhao expanded her teaching studio and created the Chinese Arts and Music Center (CAMC) in the San Francisco Richmond District. For more than a decade, she taught her own private studio along with recruiting numerous music and art teachers which soon turned into many consecutive summer music programs, after school programs, a Chinese school, and co-directing the annual student and faculty orchestra ensemble concerts held at USF and Lakeside Presbyterian Church. Teaching over several hundreds of students at CAMC, Ms. Zhao has given her students numerous performance and competition opportunities, including taking them to perform at major venues such as Davies Symphony Hall, Herbst Theatre, Asian Art Museum, and San Francisco Chinese New Year Boat Parade. Her students have won major prizes in Chinese instrumental competitions and exams in California and China.

She currently resides in San Francisco and Los Angeles, continuing her private teaching studio of over 20 years. Since 2003, she has been on Music Faculty at the San Francisco Chinese American International School (CAIS), where she teaches various Chinese instruments including guzheng, yangqin, erhu, moonguitar, Chinese percussion, and more.