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Special Thank You to our Preliminary Round Judges!

A special thank you to the incredible judges that assisted with the preliminary virtual auditions for the music festival this year!  This year’s preliminary round judges included esteemed musicians from across Asia, who were able to provide their expertise with our young musicians. We also want to take a moment to highlight some of the wonderful performers who will be joining us as judges as workshop leaders for the finalist round on Saturday, May 18th. 

You can learn more about this year’s judges by reading their biographies below.  

Juanjuan Wang (王娟娟), Ph.D. in Musicology and MA in Erhu Performance. She is currently an Erhu lecturer at School of Music in Qingdao University, a council member of China Nationalities Orchestra Society, a member of Chinese Musicians Association, an executive director of Singapore Huqin Association, a contracted performer of Taipei New Aspect Center and International New Aspect Culture and Education Foundation, a council member of Shandong Musicians Association Huqin Professional Committee, a council member of Qingdao Nationalities Orchestra Society, the vice president of Huqin Professional Committee of Qingdao Nationalities Orchestra Society, and the founder of Qingdao Xingchen Huqin Chamber Orchestra. As world class erhu virtuoso, she toured around Germany, Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines.  In 2011, invited by the Asian Art and Culture Promotion Alliance, Wang Juanjuan went to the Philippines to participate in the Asian Gem of The Arts performance as a soloist.  In 2018, invited by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and featured on European tour of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Lang Lang.

Zheng-Gang Chen (陳鄭港) Currently serves as the dean of the Department of Opera Music at the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts. Chen holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from National Chengchi University. As a music education enthusiast the native of Xinpu, Hsinchu, grew up to served as Director, Supervisor, and Secretary-General of the Chinese Music Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Adjunct Professor at National Taiwan University of Arts, Chinese Culture University, and National Taiwan College of Performing Arts and many high schools. He is also a professional huqin player who served at the Zhongguang Chinese Orchestra. His academic expertise lies in fields such as musical philosophy, Chinese music history, Taiwanese music history, indigenous music and culture, ethnomusicology, arts and cultural ecology, and team management in performance curation practice. Contributions to social observations and arts-related critiques can be found in various media outlets. More than an Ethnomusicologist, Chen held managerial positions (Deputy Chief, Section Chief, Assistant Researcher, Executive Secretary) in national-level music ensembles (Taiwan Chinese Orchestra of the National Center for Traditional Arts, formerly the National Experimental Chinese Orchestra under the Ministry of Education), specializing in promoting East Asian culture through music performance. Organized and executed nearly 2,500 performances at the National Concert Hall and various venues nationwide, produced over 60 music albums, and organized multiple overseas tours to promote cultural diplomacy.

In May 2020, appointed as the Founding Head of the Department of Arts at the International College of Grace University in Thailand. During May 2021, appointed as the Director of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, focusing on the symbiotic relationship between “artistic practice” and “social engagement” as guiding principles, strengthening sustainable development through local cultivation, enhancing the value of Taipei’s experiences, and successfully promoting the orchestra with a solid reputation.

Huei-Wen Deng (鄧惠文) Currently a Ghehu musician of National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan. Beginning her journey in high school, she studied cello under the guidance of Rong-Fang Shi and Tian-Huei Lee. She received her bachelor in Chinese Music from Chinese Culture University. Her outstanding playing skill had soon been recognized, she started serving at Taipei Silk and Bamboo Chamber Orchestra from 1989, and serving at National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan since 1993. With Taipei Silk and Bamboo Chamber Orchestra and National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan, she performed globally at music festivals, art seasons, cultural festivals, and touring to Austria, Canada, Israel, and other countries. 

Quan-Bo Zhong (鐘泉波) is currently the Director of Taiwan Yangqin orchestra, Associate Professor of Chinese Culture University Chinese Music Department, council of Chinese Music Association Taiwan R.O.C.. He was an active Yangqin musician and served at Zhong-Guang Chinese Orchestra,  Contemporary Legend Theatre, Lu-Guang National Opera, and Tian-Yuan Music Center. These experiences inspired him to become a pioneer of Yangqin arts in Taiwan. As music director and educator, he led the orchestra to win the Outstanding Performing Arts Team of Taichung City 13 times from 2002-2024. In 2009-2010, his team won the outstanding performing arts group of Taiwanese Ministry of Culture. During 2021, he was honored with the honor in the performing arts, the “Golden Art Award” of the 10th Taichung City Performance Arts Festival. As a Yangqin pioneer and composer, he devotes himself to music composition. His works include:

Yangqin Concertos: “Yearning Rhapsody,” “Love of Flowers,” “Erhuang Rhapsody,” “Butterfly’s Enticement,” “Red Dust Calamity,” “Min Tune,” “Trilogy of Horses,” “Song of Awakening,” “The Countryside in My Heart,” and “Silhouette.”

Ensemble Works: “Spring of Chu Lu,” “Dance of the Firebird” (Yangqin and Dance), “Journey in the Mountains,” “Dream of Spring by the River,” “Walking Tune,” “Divination Tune,” “Farewell by the Harbor,” and 90 more other tunes. Includes hundreds of arrangements of folk tunes for Yangqin ensemble. 

Music theater works: “An Tian Club,” “Liao Tian Ding,” “Mazu,” “Zheng Cheng Gong and the Red Boy,” “Oops! Peach Blossoms from Beyond,” “Grandfather’s Puppet Box,” “Martial Arts of Mulan,” and “God of Wealth Brothers.”

Published Works: “Taiwan Yangqin Melodies – Yangqin Ensemble Collection I, II, III,” totaling three volumes.

Li Jing (李靜), born in January 1976, is a Han nationality, a member of the Communist Party of China, a professor and a doctor. She is currently a piano teacher, master’s supervisor and director of the academic committee of the School of Art of North Central University. Member of the Chinese Musicians Association, member of Shanxi Musicians Association, executive director of Shanxi Music Education Professional Committee, executive director of Shanxi Piano Society, national social art level examination judge, Shanxi vocational skills appraisal senior assessor. She graduated from the Chinese Conservatory of Music in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree. In 2007, she graduated from the Conservatory of Music of Shanxi University with a master’s degree in piano teaching and performance. In 2023, she graduated from Krirk University in Thailand with a doctorate in art in his professional field of music. Promoted to lecturer in 2006, associate professor in 2011, and professor in 2016. Published one academic monograph; one album; published more than 20 academic papers; hosted, participated in and completed more than 20 provincial key topics; was invited to serve as a judge of various competitions for many times; won the Performance Award and the “Outstanding Instructor Award” many times.

Tsai-En Li (李采恩) is currently an adjunct Professor of Chinese Music at National Taiwan University of Arts, the councilor of Taiwan International Artists Association and Chinese Music Research Association. She is also the founder of Tsai-Yyi Music and Dance. She holds a M.A. of National Taiwan University of Arts, M.A. of Xinghai Conservatory of Music, and a B.A. in Shanghai Conservatory of Music studied under Ti Zheng, Xiao-Tsai Pi,  Yu-Guang Bai, and  Ya-Hua Shen. She is the queen of the hill of lots of prestigious music competitions including 6th Taipei International Shihwa Vocal Competition, Folk Music Competition of New Taipei City, 2th Golden Sound Musicology, and more. She also toured globally and cooperated with TOSTI Research Center in Italy, Italian Music Academy, Shanxi Satellite TV’s, Cross-Strait Forum, Taoyuan Chinese Orchestra, and more. 

Hua Li (李華), M.A. in opera, Ph.D. in Musicology, National Second-Class Actor, Associate Professor of Vocal Music at Shanxi Arts Vocational College.

Selected Achievements:

2015 First prize, Supervising vocal works, 4th Provincial University Student Art Exhibition.

2016 First prize, Educator’s Singing Category, The 5th “Chrysanthemum Award”.

2017 First prize, Educator’s Singing Category, the 5th Shanxi Provincial Campus Art Competition

2018 First prize, Educator’s Singing Category, the 6th Shanxi Provincial Campus Art Competition

2019 Second prize, Supervising Provincial Vocational Skills Competition.

2021 Honored with the Outstanding Educator Award at the 13th China Music Golden Bell Awards Shanxi Selection.

Simon Kong Su Leong (江賜良) is a Chinese Malaysian composer and conductor. He was born in Sabah state and his ancestral hometown is Bao’an, Shenzhen, China. He is the first “foreign student” to graduate with outstanding achievements from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s major in Chinese instrumental composition. He studied under the guidance of the renowned composer Professor Zhu Xiaogu. During his studies, Simon also learned conducting from the distinguished music educator Professor Xia Feiyun, modern music composition from the renowned composer Professor Xu Jianqiang, suona performance from the esteemed suona player Professor Liu Ying, percussion performance from the acclaimed percussionist Professor Yang Ruwen, and Chinese folk song theory from the ethnomusicologist Professor Huang Bai. Jiang’s mentor during his formative years was the well-known Malaysian Chinese music educator Teo Seng Chong.

In recent years, Simon has been dedicated to exploring the creative composition, orchestration, and therapeutic applications of Chinese “Wuxing” instrumental music. He frequently collaborates with professional orchestras such as the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Taiwan National Chinese Orchestra, and Kaohsiung City Chinese Orchestra. Simon’s works have been performed not only in Malaysia but also in Taiwan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Europe, and Macau. He has received awards such as the Ethnic Music Composition Award from Taiwan’s National Culture and Arts Foundation and the Composition Grand Prize from the Singapore International Chinese Orchestra Composition Competition. Some of his composed works are included in albums published by BIS Records in Sweden, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Chinese instrumental music textbooks, and the Chinese National Music Collection.

Simon is a highly respected musician and conductor, and his musical talent and skills have been widely recognized in the industry. In 2019, as the only invited overseas guest, Simon participated in the Chinese Orchestration Seminar for Chinese Orchestras at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where he shared his ideas and insights on “Wuxing Wisdom in Chinese Instrumental Orchestration.” In 2020, Simon produced ten episodes of the live streaming program “Chatting about Chinese Instrumental Music through Eating and Drinking” for the Huifu Yuefang app platform and served as the host. The program received high praise and had a viewership of up to 1.5 million people. Additionally, Simon was invited to teach live in the “Chinese Orchestration Workshop” of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra. In 2021, he was invited to curate and host five live streaming sessions of the Singapore-Malaysia Cross-Strait Forum for the Chinese Orchestra.In March 2023, Simon was invited by the Taipei Chinese Orchestra to participate in the opening concert of the Traditional Arts Festival in Taipei. In August, Simon was invited by the Hong Kong Music Office to conduct the Hong Kong Youth Music Camp’s Chinese Orchestra and Junior Chinese Orchestra. The bamboo flute piece “Poetic Homeland” arranged by him has been selected for the 2024 China National Arts Fund sponsorship program.

Furthermore, Simon has been invited multiple times to conduct Chinese orchestras and serve as an international competition judge in various locations worldwide, including the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Brunei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Wuhan. He currently holds the position of Secretary-General in the Sabah Chinese Music Society in Malaysia.

Ho Chung Yeh (葉和中), his conducting techniques is influenced by the style of Taiwanese, the USA and Russia conducting receiving a conducting DMA from St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Yeh is currently a professor at Krirk University, and served at Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1999 – 2000. His mentors include the legendary Ilya Musin, as well as Alexander Polishchuk at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, Daniel Barenboim, Neeme Järvi, John Nelson, Larry Rachleff and Harold Farberman. A winner at the First Neeme Järvi Master Course/Conducting Competition in 2000, he shared the podium with Maestro Järvi at the grand finale concert of the David Oistrakh Festival in Estonia. During his professional career, he served as the Principal Guest Conductor of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, Music Director of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest Chamber Orchestra, West Suburban Youth Orchestra of Chicago, and North Shore Chamber Orchestra Summer Music Festival, Principal Conductor of the Sochi Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, was a Board member for the Illinois Council of Orchestras, and on the Music Advisory Board for the Chinese Fine Arts Society in Chicago. Maestro Yeh frequently performe  with orchestras including the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, State Hermitage Orchestra, Stanislavsky Opera Theater Orchestra, Omsk Philharmonic, Tomsk Philharmonic, Petrozavodsk (Karelia) Philharmonic, Saint Petersburg Radio Symphony Orchestra, Astrakhan Philharmonic, Murmansk Philharmonic, Sochi Chamber Orchestra, Archangel State Chamber Orchestra (Russia), Kharkov Philharmonic (Ukraine), Varna Philharmonic (Bulgaria), Karagranda Symphony Orchestra (Kazahkstan), Evanston Symphony Orchestra, North Shore Chamber Orchestra (USA), Taipei Symphony Orchestra, National Chinese Orchestra, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Taichung Chinese Orchestra, Taoyuan Chinese Orchestra, as well as Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra (Taiwan). In 2017 he held a conducting master class with the Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg. In 2019 he held the “First Ho Chung Yeh International Concerto Competition for Chinese Instruments”, and will serve  as a jury member for the 2020 Taipei International Conducting Competition.

Yang Wei’s musical education began at the early age of six. As a young student of music, he received instruction in several different classical Chinese instruments. At 13, the decision was made to concentrate his considerable talents upon mastering the pipa. The years of study and dedication began to pay off at 18 when he performed as a soloist with the National Shanghai Orchestra. This accomplishment was followed by his achievement of the ART Trophy First Prize for the International Chinese Musical Instruments Competition, in the Young Professional Pipa Section, which he was awarded in 1989. As a professional musician, he has been celebrated worldwide, performing for and inspiring audiences throughout Asia, Europe and the United States. His professional activities have included performing as a soloist with various orchestras and in various ensembles, teaching and participating in educational programs in both public and educational settings. Since 2000, Yang Wei has toured with the acclaimed Silk Road Project performing alongside world famous cellist, Yo Yo Ma. In the United States, he has performed at such known venues as the Ravinia International Music Festival, the Kimmel Center, the Lincoln Center and the Chicago Symphony Center. In addition to these performances, he has served as artist in residence for the Art Institute of Chicago and has led international music lectures. He has been instrumental in commissioning new works by well-known composers such as Bright Sheng, Zhu Jianer, Gabriela Lena Frank and Yao Chen.In 1996, Wei Yang moved permanently to the United States, making his home in the Chicago area.

Jade Chinese Ensemble

Inaugurated in spring 2022, Jade Chinese Music Ensemble is dedicated to promoting traditional and contemporary Chinese music and incorporating world music genres. With musicians from the University of Chicago community and beyond, they are a leading Chinese music ensemble in the greater Chicago area and have launched a series of concerts and performances.


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