University of Calgary

Erhu studies at U of C

Feb. 10, 2009
Yu Hongmei
Yu Hongmei

Erhu adds international mix to music program

The Erhu is one of the most ancient classical instruments and has long been associated with Chinese music. Students majoring in music performance now have the opportunity to take advanced studies in Erhu performance.

A two-string bowed instrument, the Erhu’s mellow, expressive sound can be either soft and flowing, or strong and staccato. Highly versatile, it carries the melody in the Chinese orchestra, and is used as both a solo and ensemble instrument.

The new Erhu performance study program will be led by Yu Hongmei, a visiting scholar in the Department of Music. William Jordan, head of the Department of Music says, “I'm really pleased that we have this connection with Chinese music here at the University of Calgary. Yu Hongmei is one of China's greatest cultural ambassadors, and having her resident in our department is an amazing opportunity for our students and colleagues, as well as our audiences."

Yu is an associate professor at the central conservatory of music in Beijing and has been performing on the Erhu since the age of eight. She has been the principal Erhuist of the Chinese National Traditional Orchestra, as well as performing as a soloist all over the world. She has big plans for the new program:

"I’m very excited to bring Chinese Erhu music into the sphere of the Canadian university. This is the first such program outside of China to open a path for the scholarly pursuit of Erhu performance. It's actually quite remarkable in Chinese music history.

“It will surely contribute a further multicultural dimension to the University of Calgary while broadening the network of opportunities for learning music and cultural exchange between China and Canada. The program will be of interest to both Chinese students and Westerners who want to pursue study of professional Chinese Erhu music."

William Jordan adds, “The Erhu initiative in the Department of Music is a significant development in the internationalization of the University of Calgary. We welcome applications from qualified Erhu players from China and around the world.”

For more info visit the music department website at