Assistant Principal Viola
The Louise H. Benton Wagner Chair
Li-Kuo Chang has been the assistant principal viola of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1988, appointed by Sir Georg Solti. He has appeared with many orchestras as soloist, including the Chicago Symphony, most recently with Pinchas Zukerman performing Bach’s Sixth Brandenburg Concerto. He also has been an active chamber music performer collaborating with many renowned artists, such as Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Pinchas Zukerman, in concerts at the Orchestra Hall in Chicago, as well as at Ravinia Music Festival, Los Angeles Music Center, Staatsoper in Berlin, Lucerne Music Festival and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, among other venues around world. From 2000 to 2007, he was invited by Daniel Barenboim to be the guest solo viola of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and Berlin Staatskapelle, and toured with these two ensembles in their many European and Asian tours, including Richard Wagner’s complete Ring des Nibelungen performances in Japan in 2002.
Li-Kuo Chang has been active as a teacher for many years. He has been on the faculty of Northwestern University from 1993 to 2008 and Roosevelt Universities since 1998. Since September, 2011, he joined the faculty of the Peabody Institute as an artist teacher. He has also been on the faculty of the Affinis Music Festival in Japan since 1992. Chang has given master classes at the Indiana University, Northern Illinois University, DePaul University, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and Shanghai Conservatory. His students have won positions in major orchestras, such as Chicago, Detroit, Saint Louis, Indianapolis, and have received competition prizes.
Chang studied violin and piano at the Music High School of the Shanghai Conservatory in his native city Shanghai, China. He was a first prize winner of the Chinese Young Artist Competition, held in Shanghai in 1978. In 1979, he came to the U.S. with a full scholarship at the Eastman School of Music and a young artist fellow at the Music Academy of the West. He studied viola with Francis Tursi, Donald McInnes, Milton Thomas, William Magers and Paul Doktor. He has also played for William Primrose at Primrose’s master classes.
Li-Kuo Chang lives in Chicago’s East Lakeview with his wife Maggie and son Daniel. His instrument, the famous ex-Henri Vieuxtemps viola, is a rare G. B. Guadagnini viola made in 1770, Turin.