Favoring traditional Chinese music over the type of slick, western-influenced Asian pop that is big in China, Korea and other Asian countries, Yu Hong-Mei is among the Chinese instrumentalists who plays the erhu--one of China's top string instruments for centuries. Born in China's Shangdong Province in 1971, Hong-Mei was only eight when she began studying the erhu under Su An-guo. In 1984, a 12-year-old Hong-Mei entered China's High School of the Central Music Academy and continued to study the erhu under Zhang Shao, who was considered a master of the instrument. In 1990, she entered the Central Music Academy on the college level and majored in traditional Chinese music before graduating with honors in 1994. As an undergraduate, Hong-Mei recorded her first album, The Blooming Red Plum, in 1992. Hong-Mei's first visit to the U.S. came in 1999, when she visited Santa Barbara, CA and recorded String Glamour for the Wind label.
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