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George Gao

Gemini-award nominated Canadian musician George Gao started learning erhu at the age of six and went on to study at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Today, he is a world-renowned erhu performer and a renaissance man who has written and arranged music for films, television and Broadway musicals. At the same time, he is also a producer to many global musicians and artists. George Gao is also known for his superior musicianship and for being one of the most innovative and representative fiddlers of his generation.

George Gao has written for Canadian films and television advertisements. Collaborating with 20-time Grammy award-winning artist and composer Brian Keane, he worked on the soundtrack to the three-part documentary, Becoming American – The Chinese Experience, penning music for American network giant PBS. George Gao has also composed the following erhu masterpieces: Erhu Capriccio, Erhu Capriccio No. 2 – Mongolian Fantasy and Erhu Capriccio No. 3 – Dazzling Movement, Erhu Capriccio No. 4 – Gobi Fantasy, Erhu Capriccio No. 5 – Nakhi. The five works have been universally acknowledged as contemporary erhu classics, and are frequently used as set pieces for important national and international erhu competitions.

His virtuosic rearrangements of Carmen Fantasy and Gypsy Air for erhu have also achieved great popularity. Always experimenting, George Gao frequently invokes genres of jazz, rock, new age, middle eastern music, Indian music, Latin music and folk music in his own compositions. In doing so, he has brought his infectious energy and the erhu to many stages around the world. Today, he is hailed as an influential contributor towards the modernization of Chinese music, and the inspiration for new styles of music-making in China.

An enthusiast of many musical styles, George helped found the Beijing rock band Red Maple Leaf and the pop group, Snowman. In Toronto, he has collaborated with many world music artists including Jesse Cook, Donald Quan and Ron Korb, and joined many world music ensembles such as Bowfire, Silk Orchestra, George Gao Ensemble and Memento.

Besides performing with orchestras worldwide, George Gao is a visiting professor at the China Conservatory of Music, the National Taiwan University of Arts, the Zao Zhuang University, the Jiang Xi University of Science and Technology in China and Ogaki Women’s College in Japan.

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