Soloist for pipa (Chinese lute) and guzheng (Chinese zither)

“An extraordinary focused, poised presence in her manner and her playing. In a lesser player this is just a trained formality. But Liu Fang has moved beyond perfect execution to the creativity that marks a true musician.” - fROOTS

“Liu Fang possesses virtuoso technique, grace and a unique empathy toward the music she plays, be it a traditional folk tune or a modern composition.” - All Music Guide.

If an easy ability to transcend geographic, stylistic and linguistic barriers is a hallmark of great artists, then Liu Fang, one of the finest Chinese traditional musicians performing today, is among their number. It helps that she is a musician who marries a stunning technique with a quiet aesthetic, moving without impediment between dizzy complexity and simple serenity on her chosen instruments, the pipa and guzheng.

Born in Yunnan Province, Liu Fang has been a devotee of Chinese traditional music since the tender age of six, a precursor to studies at the Shanghai Conservatory and mastery of several indigenous Chinese instruments. Fang is without peers in her command of the pipa, the teardrop shaped lute that came to China via The Silk Road in the 6th century. With its deeply scolloped thirty frets, played in the five fingered plucking style known as lunzi, this demanding instrument sings brightly in the hands of this modest virtuoso.

Based in Montreal since the mid 90’s, Liu Fang has blossomed as an ambassador for China’s enigmatic trove of classical and folkloric music, when collaborating with traditional musicians like kora master Ballake Sissokho or contemporary music ensembles like Italy’s Paul Klee Quartet.

Her first Irish performance, will be solo and unadorned, all the better to appreciate the ebb and flow of her deeply personal river of Taoist sound from torrents of rapid notes cascading downstream to tranquil pools of reflection.

[The above text: courtesy of]


[short version] (242 words)

As a child prodigy in her native China, now a resident of Canada, Liu Fang has been regarded as one of the most eminent pipa soloists. She has performed numerous concerts throughout world to massive acclaim, including solo recitals of Chinese traditional and classical music as well as contemporary music with orchestras, string quartets and ensembles. She has also premiered a number of new compositions such as the works of Canada’s eminent composers R Murray Schafer and Jose Evangelista, and made frequent appearances in national and international TV and radios. Liu Fang is also highly acclaimed for her “Silk and Steel projects” in which she has collaborated with world class musicians from various traditions, and has released 11 solo and collaborative albums. Her most recent recording 'Silk Sound', under the French Label Accords Crosses, won the prestigious Academie Charles Cros Award (the French equivalent of the Grammy). Liu Fang is referred to in the press as "the empress of pipa” (L'actualité, 2001), “divine mediator” (World, 2006), “the greatest ambassadress of the art of the pipa” (La presse, 2002) and “possessing virtuoso technique, grace and a unique empathy toward the music she plays – whether it is a traditional folk tune or a modern Western composition” (All Music Guide, 2004). In 2001, Liu Fang was the only musician to receive the prestigious 'Future Generation Millennium Prize' awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts to three artists of different disciplines under 30 years of age.

[Long version](779 words)

Montreal resident Liu Fang has achieved an international reputation for her masterful and deeply spirited pipa playing. Born in 1974 in Kunming in the Chinese province of Yunnan, Liu Fang began studying the pipa at the age of six and gave her first public performance as a pipa soloist when she was nine. In 1985, she played for Queen Elizabeth during Her Majesty's visit to China. Honoured with several provincial and national prizes, Liu Fang graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she also studied the guzheng, a Chinese zither. Since moving to Canada in 1996, Liu Fang has built a remarkable artistic profile by captivating audiences and critics with the richness and grace of her playing as well as her wide ranging repertoire. Celebrated in the press as the “divine mediator” (World, 2006), “without question the greatest ambassadress of the art of the pipa in America and Europe” (La presse, 2002) and “the empress of pipa” (L'actualité, 2001), Liu Fang is known as “possessing virtuoso technique, grace and a unique empathy toward the music she plays – whether it is a traditional and folk tune or a modern Western composition” (All Music Guide, 2003). Her playing is described as “Masterful, graceful and riveting” (BBC, 2004).

Liu Fang is most well-known for her virtuosic and expressive interpretation of traditional pipa and guzheng music from the classical and folkloric traditions. Deeply rooted into the tradition, yet with a distinctive personal style, Liu Fang is able to transmit in an erudite and significant way the beauty and the richness of this ancient music as well as the subtle sonorities of the instruments by the power and sensibility of her play. having given concerts all over the world and performing solo recitals at prestigious venues and festivals such as the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, the Philharmonic Hall of Liège, Belgium (2006), BBC concerts in London (2003, 2007), the Bath International Music Festival (2004) and the York Early Music Center (2008), the TFF Rudolstadt 2006 and the WOMAD Festival in the UK (2004) and Spain (2006), Festival des musiques du monde les suds à Arles (France), to mention but a few.

Among the numerous solo recitals, concerto performances and concerts at festivals throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe and South America, Liu Fang has premiered new compositions by a number of accomplished composers. In fact, she has appeared in the spectacular world premier of R. Murray Schafer's opera The Palace of the Cinnabar Phoenix, playing outstanding solos on both the pipa and the guzheng. She has also collaborated with traditional master musicians from various traditions. She performed two concerti for pipa and orchestra (the "Ghost opera" by celebrated Tan Dun and the "King Chu Doffs his Armour" by Zhou Long) with the Moravia Symphony Orchestra in Prague (1999), and in November 2003 she performed with the orchestre des pays de Savoie in France improvised music in Gustav Mahler's "Liede der Erde" (Song of the Earth) and was highly praised (in Le Monde de la Musique, No. 282). Recently Liu Fang performed with the renowned Nouvelle Ensemble Moderne and SMCQ in Montreal, the Alcan string quartet in Quebec, and the Quartetto Paul Klee Venezia and Xenia Ensemble in Italy, and the Spiegel String Quartet in Belgium. Since last year she has been collaborating with Malcolm Goldstein, an internationally renowned violin maestro, on new and improvised music.

Liu Fang has also made numerous national and international radio recordings and television appearances, given performances recorded for films, and released 11 CDs. Liu Fang has been invited as one of the featured artists (including also the world renowned Russian violinist - Vadim Repin) by BBC World Service for the concert on November 7, 2003 dedicated to World AIDS Day. The recording of this concert has been broadcasted in all of the 43 World Service Language Services with the current World Service audience across all platforms in the region of 150 millions. On November 16, 2005, Liu Fang was invited to perform at the concert dedicated to the 60th anniversary of UNESCO in Paris.

Liu Fang has been awarded a number of grants by the Canada Council for the Arts. On June 5th, 2001, she received the prestigious Future Generations Millennium Prize from the council. In the jury's words: "Liu Fang's mastery of the pipa and the guzheng has established her international reputation as a highly talented young interpreter of traditional Chinese music. She aspires to combine her knowledge and practice of eastern traditions with western classical music, contemporary music and improvisation, thereby creating new musical forms, uniting different cultures and discovering new audiences."

On Auguest 4, 2006, Liu Fang received the prestigious l'Académie Charles Cros award.


Liu Fang in

Liu Fanmg bio at WOMAD official site

Liu Fang Bio and audio demo at WOMEX website

Liu Fang at CBC Radio, with video and music online

Liu Fang at the official site of Montreal artists (including audio and video demo).

Reportage sur le concert solo au Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, France, 2006

Portrait of Liu Fang by Daniel Brown, Mondomix, 2006.

Introduction to Chinese Traditional Music

The historical development of pipa



Special news:

Guy Gavriel Kay's prize-winning noval - "Under Heaven": The music of the pipa is powerfully associated with Tang Dynasty China, and Under Heaven makes use of this in many different ways. During his research for the book, Guy Kay came across the pipa music of the brilliant Liu Fang, and they corresponded on issues of technique and transitions in the use of the instrument through time... (Read more and hear music online)





Liu Fang solo guzheng CDs

Liu Fang CDs available now for online order


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