Lei Hou joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1997, appointed by Daniel Barenboim. Prior to her engagement, she was accepted into the first violin section by the Cleveland Orchestra. She also has served as assistant principal second violin of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., for six years, appointed by Mstislav Rostropovich.
As an active chamber musician and soloist, Hou has performed with Pinchas Zukerman at the Ravinia Festival and Northwestern University’s Winter Chamber Music Festival, with Yefim Bronfman at Symphony Center and with members of the Guarneri and Alban Berg quartets at the Marlboro Festival. She also has extensively performed as leading violinist of the chamber group formed with musicians from the Chicago Symphony and the German Radio Orchestra in concert tours in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Hou has been a featured soloist in concerts for National Public Radio, WFMT of Chicago and WBJC FM of Baltimore. Hou has served on the faculties of the music schools of the University of Maryland and the American University.
A native of Dalian, China, she studied at the Middle School of Music in Shanghai, China. She also attended the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Hou earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance at the Peabody Conservatory, where she was invited to study with Bert Senofsky under full scholarship. Lei and her sister Qing, also a member of the CSO, were also honored to perform as soloists at a state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao in Chicago.