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Li-Kuo Chang’s Highlights


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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music

  • 1949: Born in Wuhan, China, but brought to Shanghai right after his birth to be raised there. So Shanghai is his hometown in China.
  • 1953: Started piano lessons with his mother, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London and a professor at the Shanghai Conservatory.
  • 1956: Decided to play the violin after attending a concert by David Oistrakh in Shanghai. Her mother got him into a violin studio for children at the Shanghai Conservatory, beginning his career as a violinist.
  • 1960: Solo debut at the Shanghai Spring Music Festival.
  • 1966: When he wanted to form a quartet, and there was no viola major at the music high school of the Shanghai Conservatory, he decided to play the viola himself, combining it at the same time with his violin studies.
  • 1969: Switched to viola exclusively when he was selected as principal viola and orchestra leader for one of the Peking Opera Theater during the “Cultural Revolution,” for the experimental creation of western orchestra mixed with the traditional Chinese instruments, led by Jiang Qing — Mao Zedong’s wife.
  • 1978: Won the first prize in the Chinese Young Artist Competition in Shanghai — the first violist ever to win such a competition in China.
  • 1979: Moved to the USA after being awarded full scholarships from the Julliard School, the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory. He enrolled at Eastman — with Francis Tursi — because the school offered full room and board on top of the full tuition, as he left China with only thirty US dollars in his pocket. He also received a young artist fellow at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara — with Milton Thomas and Donald McInnes. Besides, he studied with Paul Doktor and William Magers and was coached by William Primrose at his masterclasses.
  • 1982: After winning a competition at the Music Academy of the West, conductor Theo Alcántara appointed him as associate principal viola for the Phoenix Symphony, leaving school earlier and starting his professional orchestra career in the USA.
  • 1987: Joined the Denver Symphony Orchestra.
  • 1988: Appointed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal viola by Sir Georg Solti.
  • 1992: Artist-faculty member at the Affinis Music Festival in Japan.
  • 1993: Artist-faculty member at Northwestern University.
  • 1998: Artist-faculty member at the Chicago College of Performing Art at Roosevelt University.
  • 2000: By the invitation of Daniel Barenboim, he became the guest solo viola of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and Staatskapelle Berlin between 2000 to 2007 for several European and Asian tours, including the complete Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan.
  • 2011: Artist-faculty member at Peabody Conservatory.
  • 2017: Appointed acting principal viola of the Chicago Symphony by Riccardo Muti.
  • 2018: Artist-faculty member at the Music Institute of Chicago.
  • 2021: Artist-faculty member at Indiana University Bloomington.

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