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Press Releases

Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu Joins the Shanghai Quartet

November 20, 2020 | By Patricia Price
Managing Director, 8VA Music Consultancy

Shanghai Quartet

The Shanghai Quartet announced today that Angelo Xiang Yu joins the ensemble as second violinist, effective immediately. Angelo Xiang Yu is the recipient of both a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2019 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award. He won First Prize in the 2010 Yehudi Menuhin Competition. As part of the Quartet, Angelo joins the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, where they have been the Quartet-in-Residence since 2002. The Shanghai Quartet, including Angelo, also joins The Tianjin Juilliard School in fall 2020 as resident faculty members.

Auditioning a new member during the coronavirus pandemic created a unique set of challenges for the creative process. The players could not greet each other with handshakes, and they rehearsed six feet apart with masks. But in the end, social distancing and masks did not distract from Angelo’s ideal fit with the Quartet.

First violinist and co-founder of the Quartet Weigang Li comments, “Angelo brings a breadth of experience with him that is uniquely tailored to our work. In addition to his exceptional soloist abilities, he is an accomplished chamber musician and passionate educator. Being a devoted teacher was an important trait for us, and he also understands the demands of our international touring schedule. With family in Shanghai, he will quickly and happily adapt to the bicontinental nature of our quartet.”

Cellist Nicholas Tzavaras adds, “Our chemistry as musicians was immediately apparent. For our first rehearsals, we were socially distanced, even wearing masks, but our playing clicked immediately. Angelo is a thoughtful, warm, and sensitive musician.”

Mr. Yu has been a member of the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), and chamber music has been an important part of his career.

“Joining this esteemed group of colleagues is a dream come true.” Says Angelo Xiang Yu, “During my youth in Shanghai, I admired the Shanghai Quartet as the prime example of how a string quartet should sound. My younger self would have been amazed that I would someday join as a member.”

Honggang Li shares his excitement, “Angelo reflects the next chapter and future of the Shanghai Quartet. His presence will continue our tradition of excellence while bringing new approaches that inspire us. We are overjoyed he will join our family.”

Upcoming performance highlights for the Quartet include the premiere of a new work by Marcos Balter for the Quartet and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo for the Phillips Collection, return performances for Maverick Concerts and the Taos School of Music, and engagements in Los Angeles, Syracuse, Albuquerque, and Salt Lake City. For further information, visit shanghaiquartet.com.

About Angelo Xiang Yu
Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, recipient of both a 2019 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2019 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, as well as First Prize in the 2010 Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition, has won consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience response worldwide for his astonishing technique and exceptional musical maturity. In March 2017, Mr. Yu was chosen to be a member of the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two).

Angelo Xiang Yu’s recent performances with orchestra include concerto appearances with the San Francisco, Detroit, Toronto, Vancouver, Houston, Colorado, North Carolina, San Antonio, Puerto Rico and Charlotte symphonies and the Rochester and Calgary Philharmonic among others.  Internationally, he has appeared with the New Zealand Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Norwegian Radio Symphony, Munich Chamber Orchestra and the Oslo Philharmonic.  Also a frequent guest at the important summer music festivals in the US and Europe, Mr. Yu has appeared at the Ravinia and Aspen Music Festivals, Chamber Music Northwest, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Music@ Menlo, Sarasota Music Festival and the Grant Park Music Festival, as well as the Verbier and Bergen Festivals in Europe.

Born in Inner Mongolia China, Angelo Xiang Yu moved to Shanghai at the age of 11 and received his early training from violinist Qing Zheng at the Shanghai Conservatory. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master's degrees as well as the prestigious Artist Diploma at the New England Conservatory where he was a student of Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried, and served as Mr. Weilerstein’s teaching assistant.

Mr. Yu performs on the 1715 “Joachim” Stradivarius violin, generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

About The Shanghai Quartet
Over the past thirty-seven years the Shanghai Quartet has become one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles. The Shanghai’s elegant style, impressive technique, and emotional breadth allows the group to move seamlessly between masterpieces of Western music, traditional Chinese folk music, and cutting-edge contemporary works. Formed at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1983, soon after the end of China’s harrowing Cultural Revolution, the group came to the United States to complete its studies; since then the members have been based in the U.S. while maintaining a robust touring schedule at leading chamber-music series throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Recent performance highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Freer Gallery (Washington, D.C.), and the Festival Pablo Casals in France, and Beethoven cycles for the Brevard Music Center, the Beethoven Festival in Poland, and throughout China. The Quartet also frequently performs at Wigmore Hall, the Budapest Spring Festival, Suntory Hall, and has collaborations with the NCPA and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras. 

The Shanghai Quartet has a long history of championing new music, with a special interest in works that juxtapose the traditions of Eastern and Western music. The Quartet has commissioned works from an encyclopedic list of the most important composers of our time, including William Bolcom, Sebastian Currier, David Del Tredici, Tan Dun, Vivian Fung, Lowell Lieberman, Zhou Long, Marc Neikrug, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, Chen Yi, and Du Yun. The Quartet had a particularly close relationship with Krzysztof Penderecki; they premiered his third quartet – Leaves From an Unwritten Diary – at the composer’s 75th birthday concert and repeated it again at both his 80th and 85th birthday celebrations. Forthcoming and recent commissions include new works from Judith Weir, Tan Dun, and Wang Lei, in addition to a new work from Penderecki.

A diverse array of media projects run the gamut from a cameo appearance playing Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4 in Woody Allen’s film Melinda and Melinda to PBS television’s Great Performances series. Violinist Weigang Li appeared in the documentary From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China, and the family of cellist Nicholas Tzavaras was the subject of the film Music of the Heart, starring Meryl Streep. The Shanghai Quartet is the subject of a full-length documentary film, Behind the Strings that will be released in 2020.


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