Ma Xiaohui is an internationally celebrated Erhu player with an incredible ability to speak to the world through her instrument. Having left home at the age of 13 to pursue a career in music, she studied at the Shanghai Conservatory for nine years, before later travelling the globe collaborating with some of the most internationally celebrated orchestras.
She recently opened up about her love of performing, why the repertoire in this year’s Chinese New Year concert is so special to her, and the history behind her fascinating instrument.
Performing with the MSO is such a blessing, and this performance is the perfect way to promote cross-cultural music. I’ve played with orchestras in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, but never in Melbourne! I’ve always loved performing in Australia, and I’m looking forward to once again connecting musically with the great people of this wonderful country.
I love my instrument, the Erhu. It originated in Persia, as did the violin, over 1,000 years ago! It’s a soulful music maker, with only two strings (like our vocal chords), and is often referred to as the “Chinese violin.” It travelled down the Silk Road into China and has since become the country’s leading classical music instrument, with its warm, sensitive, and unique sound.