Wen Zhao

Wen Zhao is an acclaimed pipa virtuoso, “a sensitive and lyrical performer”. Born in Beijing, she began to learn the Pipa at the age of seven, having studied under the renowned pipa master Wang Fan Di at the China Conservatory of Music. In 1990 Wen continued her musical journey in England, performing and leading Chinese music workshops throughout the U.K. Wen has lived in Toronto since 1997 and teaches pipa at York University. She is the co-founder of the Lute Legends Collective, which is a performing association of musicians who represent ancient plucked-string traditions.

Wen has appeared at major ethnic music festivals worldwide, touring in China, Europe, Canada, and the USA, and has given solo recitals on many concert series and at universities. In recent years she has collaborated with some world’s top Western ensembles, including Tafelmusi Baroque Orchestra for the touring concert “The Four Season,” the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for TanDun’s “Pipa and String” and Luo Harrison’s “Pipa Concerto: 2”, the Toronto Consort for “the LuteFest” and ” Marco Polo project” as well as other organizations dedicated to music education. Wen has been a key player in world-premiere productions by Western opera companies, including Guo Wenjing’s Feng Yi Ting at the Luminato Festival and Alice Ping Yee Ho’s The Lesson of Da Ji with Toronto Masque Theatre. She has also created several East-West music projects for Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum.

Wen is especially honoured to be one of the featured musicians for the CBC award-winning documentary film The Four Seasons Mosaic. The Toronto Star described her as “a virtuoso player who displayed her dexterity and percussive skills on the pipa,” while a reviewer in WholeNote magazine described her as “the Jimi Hendrix of the pipa.”