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CD by Yao, an up-and-coming gu-zheng player

NZCFS members may remember being regaled by beautiful gu-zheng music when they attended the National Conference in Hamilton in 2010. 

Yao playing at National Conference, 2009, at Hamilton


The young musician was Xiyao Chen and he is making a name for himself on the music scene in NZ.

Xiyao, or Yao as he is usually called, was raised in a very well-known traditional Chinese musical family in China.  His grandfather was famous as a composer and for playing the gu-zheng, as well as being one of the founders of the China Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Sichuan.  His father is a professional erhu player.

Yao learned to play the gu-zheng at the age of 4 from his mother, a gu-zheng professor, and he now holds a Master of Arts degree as well as having won many top-class prizes in Chinese competitions.  

Yao meets John Key

He has already played in front of the Prime Minister, John Key, and other celebrities.  Following an interview by the NZ Symphony Orchestra, resulting in their sponsorship, he has immigrated to New Zealand under the “exceptional talent” category. So his future looks bright.

In 2011, he played for the Hibiscus Coast Singers in a medley of Chinese folk songs and in July 2012, he will accompany the choir in the folk song, Mo li Hua (Beautiful Jasmine) at the 11th China International Choral Festival, in Beijing.

For a video showing Yao playing a concerto ‘Fighting the Typhoon’, orchestrated by Yao and Chong Feng, and please click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-lseoMkQBs 

For more info on Yao, and the gu-zheng, please click on the following link to go to his website: http://newzealandpostgraduate.com/inspiration/stories/the-sound-of-history/

Don’t miss his latest CD, “The Great Mountain, Floating River” which contains a mix of traditional music and contemporary pieces. 

Cover of Yao's CD

For a list of the tracks click here:  Yao CD Track list

You can purchase a copy from Ian Howat by


         posting a cheque for $24.45

         (this includes P&P) to:

I. Howat, 37 Orchard Avenue, Enderley, Hamilton 3214

Please also include your delivery address.


         paying $24.45 by Direct Credit online to:

Account No: 03-0318-0282335-00.

Please give “Yao CD” and your name, as reference.

Then, e-mail your delivery address to Yao on [email protected]