About the Great Wall String Quartet

Long before becoming The Great Wall String Quartet in 2009, violinists Wei Lu and Qi Zhou,
violist Chi-Yuan Chen and cellist Yao Zhao had collaborated on many concerts and performances.
They recognized a shared vision,
which was to promote and perform great chamber works and to develop better training
and education opportunities for chamber musicians.
The decision was made to unite their talents with the aim of using music
– and their heartfelt playing –
as a universal language to connect with more immediacy to audiences
and to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of chamber musicians.

The Great Wall String Quartet would like to sincerely thank our founding member, violist Chiyuan Chen for his ten years of dedicated serves to our quartet. We will always treasure his artistry, musicianship and friendship. At the same time, we warmly welcome our newest member, violist Erik Wenbo Xu, and together, we will continue to make music across the continents!

Wei LU

the concertmaster of the Deutsches Symphony-Orchester Berlin, (formerly the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra) was the first violinist selected to join the Anne-Sophie Mutter Circle of Friends Foundation. His concertmaster position, which was filled after 17 auditions, makes him one of the youngest concertmasters around the world leading a major orchestra.

Qi Zhou

He was invited by Maestro Justus Frantz to join the Philharmonie der Nationen as their second violin principal prior to his appointment as a violinist of the Munich Philharmonic in 2001. He was later chosen by the Munich Philharmonic to join its prestigious chamber orchestra, Philharmonisches Kammerorchester Muenchen.

Chi-Yuan Chen

Before joining the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, our founding member, Taiwanese violist Chi-Yuan CHEN, was a winner of the 2004 International Paris Viola Competition, Ville d’Avary. He has also frequently performed with the Boston Chamber Music Society, and collaborated with distinguished artists including members of the Arditti, Brentano, Emerson, Guarneri, Mendelssohn, and the Cleveland Quartet, Colin Carr, Ani Kavafian and Yo-Yo Ma.

Erik Wenbo Xu

Our current violist, Erik Wenbo Xu, the Co-principalviolist of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in Hamburg. He is a multiple prize winner of national competitions in China, DAAD scholarship, Villa Musica, Schubertiade and was admitted to the European String Academy Bonn. Since 2002 Erik W. Xu is regularly invited to give viola and chamber music master classes in the PRC. Masterclasses for viola and chamber music in Germany, Austria Latvia etc. As a mentor invited to Youth Symphony Orchestra like Youth Symphony Orchestra of Bremen, Niedersachsen State Youth orchestra, Youth Symphony Orchestra of NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and the Young German Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Mentor of the Hamburg NDR Elbphiharmonie Orchestra Academy for viola and chamber music.

Yao Zhao

Hailed in New York Concert Review as “ … a superb cellist with intense and sensuous sound,” and described by the Los Angeles Times as “ … being able to handle the most intricate musical works with unblinking ease and expressive zeal,” cellist Yao Zhao performs with a rare and captivating dynamism that has secured him a successful career as the tenured Principal Cello for San Diego Symphony Orchestra, and as a faculty member at San Diego State University. In 2013, was honored as one of China’s Ten Extraordinary Cellists of the Generation.