A leading performer on the Chinese dulcimer, board member of Beijing Association of China Traditional Music, and leader of “Always Folk” ensemble, Chao Tian has established a career as a soloist, educator, advocate, and composer in both traditional Chinese music and other genres. As a lecturer at European Academy of Arts and a former member of the world renowned Twelve Girls Band, she worked many years in the discipline of musical and cultural exchange. She was an alumni of the prestigious Artist in Residence program (AIR) at Strathmore Music Center.

Her musical journey began at the age of 5 and at age 12 she gained entrance to the affiliated middle school of China Conservatory with a major in dulcimer and a minor in piano. Later she was recommended for immediate admission to China Conservatory, where she obtained the master degree of arts in musical performance in 2010 as well as minors in piano and percussion. She had the experience studying Cimbalom with Hungarian virtuoso musician Victoria Herencsar, which broaden her understanding of western classical and religious music.

As an ambassador of art and culture, she had performed in over 30 different countries and regions across the globe, of many she also organized. Over the years, with identities as a university instructor, arts administrator, and professional musician, has paid her many opportunities, likewise made her pondering the relationship between music and artistic exchange. From 2017, she has collaborated with numerous acclaimed musicians from the DMV area. (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) performed in many concert series and events organized by Strathmore Music Center such as the Osher Concert, Fresh AIR Concert, and Strathmore AIR Concert series. She has contributed to local Chinese community’s cultural awareness and she was appointed as the Director of Artistic Committee of Chinese Music Society of Greater Washington for her dedication and contribution of cultural exchange and she was appointed an international program officer of BLCU Arts College to better build cooperation abroad.


As a Chinese musician, she dedicated to the inheritance and promotion of Chinese traditional and ethnic music and she concentrates on the preservation and development of Chinese traditional music. In 2008, she led other 13 exceptional Chinese musicians and formed the “Always Folk Ensemble, dedicated to the heritage and development of traditional Chinese music, and was well received by music critics and peers and dubbed the “most vibrant young music group in recent years”. To this day, under her leadership, “Always Folk Ensemble” still frequently performs throughout China and is getting more popularity than ever before. 


Meanwhile, she is intrigued by various cultures and music from other parts of the world, which have given her more challenges and ideas. Her music reflects her role as a leader of younger generation Chinese musicians, and her understanding of traditional and contemporary music, from the east to the west. The instrument played by Chao Tian, has a unique cultural background with a special purpose. It is of foreign origin and yet it became an undisputed component of Chinese music. She strives to not only affectionate her listeners, she also wants them to be able to understand the deeper message her instrument is sent, a performance with a lasting meaning and impact. She wishes to let the world hear the sound from the East in her unique way.


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