• Chinese Pipa Book, how to play pipa       
  •  Gao Hong's New Book
  • Gao Hong

    Chinese Pipa Soloist/Composer/Improviser/Educator

    "The Music of Gao Hong" Concert at The Ordway,

    A Celebration of 50 Years of Making Music With Friends

    Proclamation By Melvin Carter Mayor of the City of St. Paul

    April 3rd, 2022 "Gao Hong Day"


    “For over 50 years. Gao Hong’s music has inspired and moved countless numbers of people around the globe. As one of the premier pipa players in the world, Gao Hong’s illustrative career is filled with accomplishments as a musician, composer and educator.” – Amy Klobuchar, United States Senator

    Hunting Eagles Catching Swans: Chinese Pudong Pipa Music - Gold Medals from the Global Music Awards - Best Album and Instrumental Gold Medals and Songlines Magazine's pick for "The Best New Albums from Around the World"

    Featuring Lin Shicheng and Gao Hong

    中国琵琶《海青拿天鹅》 ~ 



    A truly historic recording, among the last ever made by pipa master Lin Shicheng, in duet with his student Gao Hong. Featuring a never-before-heard rendition of the Chinese evergreen Moonlight Over the Spring River, this selection of songs showcases a rarely-seen virtuosity of the pipa and command of Chinese musical tradition.

    Gao Hong

    Gao Hong, a master of the pear-shaped lute, the pipa, began her career as a professional musician at age 12. She graduated from China's premier music school, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she studied with the great pipa master Lin Shicheng. In both China and the U.S. Gao has received numerous top awards and honors, including First Prize in the Hebei Professional Young Music Performers Competition and an International Art Cup in Beijing. In 2005 Gao Hong became the first traditional musician to be awarded the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship, and in 2019 she became the first musician in any genre to win five McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians. In 2018 she became the first Chinese musician to win a Sally Award from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. In 2022, Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul proclaimed April 3, 2022 to be “Gao Hong Day in the City of St. Paul” in honor of her milestone concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts celebrating her “50 YEARS OF MAKING MUSIC WITH FRIENDS”. Her music were featured on "Performance Today" hosted by Fred Child.

    Gao Hong Plays National Anthem on Pipa at a NBA Timberwolves Game
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    Gao Hong as Performer

    Gao has performed throughout Europe, Australia, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the U.S. in solo concerts and with symphony orchestras, jazz musicians, and musicians from other cultures. She has performed at many major festivals and venues worldwide. Her performances have included those at the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, the Next Wave Festival, Festival d'Automne a Paris in Paris and Caen, France; the International Festival of Perth, Australia; the Festival de Teatro d'Europa in Milan, Italy; and others. Her performances of pipa concerti with symphony orchestras include world premieres with the Minnesota Orchestra, China National Traditional Orchestra (中央民族乐团) at the National Center for the Performing Arts (国家大剧院) in Beijing, the Guangdong National Orchestra(广东民族乐团), the Portland (Maine) Symphony, the Hawaii Symphony, and the Women's Philharmonic (San Francisco); and world premiere recordings with the Boston Modern Orchestra and the Moravian Philharmonic. Other world, U.S. and regional premieres and performances include those with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, and Heidelberg (Germany) Philharmonic, among others. As a chamber player, she was featured as both composer and pipa player at ChamberFest Cleveland, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Carolina Chamber Music Festival, Harbin Summer Music Festival, Pittsburgh Early Music Festival and others. She also performed worldwide with the Lincoln Center production of The Peony Pavilion.

    China's foremost music publication, People's Music, wrote of Gao Hong that "like the famous Luoyang peony, she has gradually emerged as the best of all beautiful flowers...her performance has extremely strong artistic appeal and belongs under the category of 'fine wine'...the more you listen, the more beautiful it gets..."

    Chinese Pipa master Gao Hong

    Gao Hong as Composer

    As a composer, she has received commissions from the Minnesota Orchestra, The President's Own United States Marine Band, American Composers Forum, Walker Art Center, the Jerome Foundation, Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, Minnesota Sinfonia, Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis, Zeitgeist, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, Theater Mu, IFTPA, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, The Cedar, Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, and Twin Cities Public Television for the six-part series "Made in China." Other symphony orchestras performing her compositions include the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Minneapolis Pops, Rochester Symphony, Acadiana Symphony (Louisiana), Oshkosh Symphony, St. Olaf College Orchestra, and the University of Iowa Symphony. The Sorel Organization in NYC awarded her a Medallion Recording Grant to support an album of her compositions, and Meet the Composer Inc. in NYC awarded her Creative Connections grants and MetLife Creative Connections grants. Her composition for solo pipa, Flying Dragon, won a 2012 Global Music Award - Award of Excellence Solo Instrumental (Gold Medal).

    Compositions Partial List

    In addition to Gao Hong’s own solo performances of her compositions worldwide, her music has been performed internationally by many world class musicians. In 2000, Song of the Pipa, a play based on Gao Hong’s life and the life of Chinese poet, Bai Juyi, received 20 performances by Theater Mu and featured live e musical accompaniment and new compositions by Gao Hong. In 2007 her first choral composition, “The Coming of Spring” was one of five pieces selected for a reading session by VocalEssence out of 128 applicants nationwide. Her commissioned piece from Jerome Foundation “Awakening” was premiered by Gao Hong and Speaking in Tongues at Muziekgebouw aan het IJ in Amsterdam. She was also selected to participate in a composer’s workshop hosted by the new music ensemble, Zeitgeist, and premiered her new composition “Courage” - for pipa and percussion - with Present Music in Milwaukee.

    Gao Hong as Educator


    Gao Hong is currently teaching Chinese Musical Instruments at Carleton College where she also directs the Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble and the Carleton Global Music Chamber Ensemble. In 2016, Gao Hong completed the first pipa method book ever written in English and had it published by Hal Leonard. She is also Guest Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music, China Conservatory of Music, Tianjin Conservatory of Music, and Hebei Provincial School for the Arts in China and a member of the Board of Directors at the American Composers Forum.She has presented educational programs and lectures at hundreds of colleges and universities since 1994. She also taught K-12 students nationwide for 19 years through the Minnesota State Arts Board, SPCO CONNECT Program, Young Audiences, IFTPA, and Arts Are Basic in Lincoln, Nebraska.

    She is a Board member for the American Composers Forum and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, and is a Recording Academy Voting Member for the Grammys and Governor to the Board for the Recording Academy’s Chicago Chapter and Co-Chair of Songwriters and Composers Wing Committee.

    Gao’s most recent recording of live compositions/improvisations, Alondra, recorded with an Argentinian flamenco guitarist at Abbey Road Studio in London, was released on February 23th, 2024. In 2022, she albums with kora master Kadialy Kouyate (Terri Kunda) and oudist Issam Rafea, (From Our World to Yours). All three albums won two gold medals apiece from the Global Music Awards, and were released worldwide on the ARC Music label in the UK. The Gao Hong and Issam Rafea Duo was also chosen out of over 3000 entries by indie star Phoebe Bridgers to appear on NPR’s Tiny Desk Top Shelf Contest #2 episode. In 2021 ARC re-released the highly acclaimed album Hunting Eagles Catching Swans featuring Gao Hong and her mentor, the great pipa master Lin Shicheng. The album also won two gold medals from the Global Music Awards (Best Album and Instrumental) and was Songlines magazine’s pick for "The Best New Albums From Around the World.” Terri Kunda was listed "Top of the World" album in Songlines magazine in May 2023.


  • Gao Hong and Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde

    Two Gold Medals from the Global Music Awards - Best Duo and Creativity/Originality

    New Relase of Alondra (Skylark)《雲雀》Pipa and Flamenco Guitar

    Gao Hong and Kadialy Kouyate

    New Relase of Terri Kunda - House of Friendship (Pipa and Kora)

    Two Gold Medals from the Global Music Awards - Best Duo and Instrumentalists  

    Songlines Magazine's "Top of the World"

    ; Top 100 Albums for the 2022-2023 Transglobal Music Chart; Top 100 Albums for the 2023 European World Music Chart; #4 in the Top 20 of the Global Village program on US public radio; Top World Album Chart 2023 of the Roots Music Report in Canada.


    Gao Hong and Issam Rafea Duo

    Albums: Life As Is and From Our World to Yours (Oud and Pipa)

    Two Gold Medals from the Global Music Awards - Best Album and Instrumentalists

    The Blending of Ancient Souls from Syria and China