Appointed by Daniel Barenboim, Lei Hou joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1997. She previously was a member of the first violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra and served as assistant principal second violin of the National Symphony Orchestra for six years, appointed by Mstislav Rostropovich. As an active chamber musician and soloist, Hou has performed with Pinchas Zukerman, Yefim Bronfman and members of the Guarneri and Alban Berg quartets. She also toured Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Luxembourg with musicians from the German Radio Orchestra.
Hou is a former member of the Manchester String Quartet of Washington, D.C. She has been a featured soloist in concerts broadcast on National Public Radio, WFMT-FM Chicago, and WBJC-FM Baltimore, and she has recorded chamber music by Mozart, Hoffmeister and Beethoven for German radio. She also has served on the faculties of the University of Maryland and Den Nye Opera Academy (now Bergen National Opera) in Norway and given master classes at Seoul National University, Korea National University of Arts and the Central Conservatory of Music and Middle School in Beijing.
Hou studied at Shanghai’s Middle School of Music and Conservatory of Music and at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Her festival experience includes performances at the Marlboro, Tanglewood, Sun City and Western Maryland music festivals; the Sun Valley Summer Symphony; and the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Music Institute. She frequently performs with the Lincoln Quartet, with which she has toured South America.
Lei Hou shares the stage with her sister Qing, who also is a violinist with the CSO.