Joy Yu Hoffman was born into a musical family. Her father, Yu Zhong Hai, was a famous musician and music educator in China. She has had a distinguished career as a pianist and harpist both in China and in the United States. She received her Diploma of Harp Performance at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor's degree from Roosevelt University and a Master's degree from Northwestern University. She studied harp under Yue Ping Chieu, Elizabeth Cifani, and Edward Druzinsky. She won first prize for harp performance in the Young Artists Competition in Harbin, China, and also spent twelve seasons as an opera coach at the Harbin Opera Company.
During her early years in the United States, she won a piano concerto competition and numerous scholarships both at Roosevelt and Northwestern. She has been on the faculty of Roosevelt University and Trinity International University. She is a harpist in a number of orchestras in the Chicago metropolitan area: the Lyric Opera, the Illinois Chamber, Harper College, the Symphonic Pops Orchestra, the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Wind Symphony of Illinois State University. She has performed in live radio broadcasts and has made recordings in the Chicago area. Ms. Hoffman is teaching many harp and piano students.
Joy is a specialist in performing on the Kong Hou Chinese harp, an ancient Chinese musical instrument which adapts the modern technology of the pedal harp. She has contributed original research on the historical and cultural influences of the Kong Hou in Asian music, its development from ancient through modern times. She has composed music through ancient, folk, and modern themes for solo and ensemble combinations on the Kong Hou. She has performed and given workshops on this instrument at the 1996 World Folk Harp Conference in Olympia, Washington, the 1999 Historical Harp Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, the 2000 World Folk Harp Conference in Monterey Bay, California, the 2000 American Harp Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, the 2002 Christian Harpist Retreat in Captiva Island, Florida, and Harp Con 2003 in Bloomington, Indiana, the HarpCon 2005 in Bozeman, Montana, the 9th World Harp Congress in Dublin Ireland, conferences with the Great Lakes Harpers, and many local festivals.
She has released two CD’s, Ballad in 1999, and Blessing in 2003, both with her own compositions and arrangements played on harp and kong hou.
As a classical and folk harpist, Joy Yu toured many states: Hawaii, Washington, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, California, and Florida. As a Christian music missionary, She has toured China, Hong Kong, Korea, Kenya, and the Republic of South Africa.
Joy has a web site: www.joyuharp.com.