Weishan Liu is one of the world’s leading guzheng virtuosi.
She began training in the classical style of the guzheng from the age of eleven when the acclaimed guzheng master Cao Zheng (1920-1998) picked her as his student at the Shenyang Music Conservatory. She later also studied under Yan Li and Zhao Yuzhai.
Her breakthrough came at the 1974 Chinese national traditional music competition where, playing her original composition The Magnificent Bronze Gorge, she won first prizes in both the composition and performance categories. She went on to become the top guzheng soloist at the Central Song and Dance Ensemble of China, making recordings and performing and touring with them, as well as often performing for visiting heads of state.
Liu moved to the United States in 1982 and continued performing her unique style of guzheng music. She has performed with the Chinese Orchestras of Berkeley and Los Angeles, as well as with the Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic Orchestra, the Palo Alto Philharmonic Orchestra, and she has performed composer Chen Yi’s modern compositions with the ensemble Earplay. She was a pioneer in the teaching of guzheng overseas. Over the past two decades she has trained well over a thousand students, many of whom have become professional performers and teachers themselves. She also founded the San Francisco Guzheng Music Society to promote the music of the guzheng and traditional Chinese music and culture. This organization conducts many community concerts and educational programs, including an annual concert in San Francisco with a different theme every year, and it frequently invites Chinese and Western musicians to showcase their talents.
In 1988, Liu made her first solo guzheng recording, The Magnificent Bronze Gorge, featuring the title song, her signature composition. She also recorded an ensemble album with the Dun Huang Music Ensemble in 1994 titled High Moon. She made three more ensemble recordings in 1994 for the Wind Record Company: Masterpieces of Chinese Songs of the 30s, Masterpieces of Chinese Folksongs, and Masterpieces of Chinese Traditional Music. She has participated in other recordings as well. Liu has also lent her expertise to recording soundtracks for films such as Thousand Pieces of Gold, Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, Dim Sum, Eat A Bowl of Tea, Five Chinese Brothers, The Round Eyes in the Twentieth Century, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and Motherland. In 2005, she recorded an arrangement of some of the Thousand Pieces of Gold themes with pianist George Winston for the album Cinema: A Windham Hill Collection.
Liu has toured the United States as well as more than 20 countries. She has recently started extensively recording her solo repertoire and new solo arrangements and compositions. Her new solo CD, Morning Bell, was released in April 2006 and is available on this site.