Yuan-Qing Yu

An international award-winning violinist, Yuan-Qing Yu is praised for her virtuosic performances, her collaborative interdisciplinary projects and her pursuit of bringing music to people with limited resources.

A soloist, chamber musician and teacher, Yu leads an active life in the U.S. and abroad. Locally, she can be seen and heard regularly on WFMT-FM’s Live programs, the CSO Chamber Music series and the MusicNOW series at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. She is a professor at Northwestern and Roosevelt universities, and frequently presents lectures and symposiums with professors from other fields. In 2011, she founded Civitas Ensemble (a 501c3 organization), and currently serves on its board and leads as its president. With her Civitas colleagues, she continues to perform outreach concerts at hospitals, schools and senior-living facilities. Civitas’s collaborative projects with international artists are supported by generous donors and institutions, including the MacArthur Foundation. Civitas Ensemble’s Grammy Award–nominated albums Alla Zingarese and Jin Yin, on the Cedille label, were in the top-10 of Billboard’s Classical Chart. 

An avid chamber musician, Yuan-Qing Yu has collaborated with Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Menahem Pressler, Lang Lang and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. She has given numerous critically acclaimed performances with major orchestras in the U.S., Asia and Europe, including the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She spends part of the summer teaching at the Brevard Music Center Summer Festival in North Carolina.

A contemporary-music enthusiast, Yu gave the Chicago premiere of Pierre Boulez’s Anthèmes 2 for solo violin and was invited by Boulez and Barenboim to perform the work in Berlin for Boulez’s eightieth-birthday-celebration concert in 2005. She is an advocate for living composers, having commissioned and premiered more than 10 compositions.

A native of Shanghai, China, Yuan-Qing Yu earned an artist’s certificate in violin and a master’s degree in music from Southern Methodist University. She was appointed assistant concertmaster of the CSO by Daniel Barenboim in 1995. In her spare time, she loves reading, learning and traveling.