Li-Wei Qin

Australasia and non-exclusive Asia
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© Hans Goh

As one of the most important Chinese Australian cellists, Li-Wei Qin has appeared all over the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician. After achieving great success at the 11th Tchaikovsky International Competition where he was awarded the Silver Medal, Li-Wei has since won the First Prize in the prestigious 2001 Naumburg Competition in New York. “A superbly stylish, raptly intuitive performer” (Gramophone Magazine, January 2015) was the description of the cellist’s Elgar and Walton concerti recording with the London Philharmonic.

This year in Australia Li-Wei will again be heard in a Chinese New Year’s Gala celebration in Sydney, in Adelaide Festival’s Chamber Landscapes series and in recital at the Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival. He has most recently been heard playing concertos of Elgar and Haydn with the Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, and in recital at Ukaria. He also returned to perform chamber music with the semi-finalists of the Sydney International Piano Competition.

Highlights in recent seasons include debuts with the London Symphony, Russian Philharmonic and Brussels Chamber Orchestras and return visits to the Finnish Radio Orchestra, China Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, and recitals at both the Melbourne Recital Centre and Ukaria Cultural Centre.

Twice a soloist at the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall, Li-Wei has enjoyed successful artistic collaborations with many of the world’s great orchestras including all the BBC Symphony Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR Philharmonic Orchestra Hamburg, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, La Verdi Orchestra Milan, ORF Vienna Radio Orchestra, Prague Symphony, Osaka Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and Melbourne Symphony among many others. Leading conductors with whom he has worked include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Andrew Davis, Marek Janowski, Jaap Van Zweden, Gianandrea Noseda, Jan Pascal Tortelier, Hans Graf, Yu Long, Lv Jia, Tan Dun, the late Marcello Viotti, the late Jiri Belohlavek and the late Lord Menuhin. Li-Wei has also appeared with chamber orchestras such as the Kremerata Baltika, Sinfonia Vasovia, the Munich, the Manchester, the Zurich, and the Australian Chamber Orchestras.

In recital and chamber music, Li-Wei is a regular guest at the Wigmore Hall and for the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, New York. He has appeared at the BBC Proms, the Rheinghau, the City of London, the Schleswigs-Holstein and the Mecklenburg Festivals. Li-Wei has collaborated with musicians such as Daniel Hope, Nabuko Imai, Misha Maisky, David Finckel, Wu Han, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Peter Frankel among many others.

Li-Wei’s recordings on Universal Music/Decca include the complete Beethoven Sonatas, Works of Rachmaninov with pianist Albert Tiu, Dvořàk Concerto with Singapore Symphony Orchestra and conductor Lan Shui and Elgar/Walton Concerti with the London Philharmonic. Most recently, courtesy of Universal Music, Li-Wei’s 2013 live concert with the Shanghai Symphony and Maestro Yu Long has been released on Sony Classical.

Born in Shanghai, Li-Wei moved to Australia at the age of 13, before accepting scholarships to study with Ralph Kirshbaum at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, and with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. He was invited to join the BBC ‘New Generations’ scheme in 2001, and in 2002, Li-Wei received the Young Australian of the Year Award. Other major invitations included appearances at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics (New Zealand Symphony), 2012 London Olympics, and the Davos World Economics Forum (Basel Symphony Orchestra), as well as most recently, at the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, China.

He teaches at the YST Conservatory, Singapore, and is guest professor at Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Music, China and visiting professor, Chamber music, at the Royal Northern College of Music. Li-Wei plays a 1780 Joseph Guadagnini cello, generously loaned by Dr and Mrs Wilson Goh.


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"Li-Wei Qin played Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C with a superbly polished, fine-grained sound of lightly glowing tan, leaping into the theme of the first movement with sprightly energy. As he sits at the instrument everything has immaculate precision and elegance.In the slow movement he held back the sound of his long first note, gradually emerging from inaudibility to establish with the orchestra a texture of balanced intimacy. The last movement was brisk, fiery and frisky and the supple freedom of Qin’s bow arm was a wonder to behold as he dispatched crisply biting staccato and breathless rapidity."

Peter McCallum

"Chinese Australian cellist Li-Wei Qin's finely-nuanced performance almost lifts the roof off the Concert Hall."

 Steve Moffatt

“Samuel Barber’s Sonata for Cello and Piano: Qin and Chong . . . bringing searing intensity and vivid colours to the work’s bolder statements while adding subtle sensuality to its more romantic utterances . . . Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor: Qin’s beguiling lyricism and carefully shaped phrasing were a delight throughout . . . the central Adagio was graced with a profound and gentle beauty, counterpointed by the sprightly finale . . . Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro: the duo revel(ed) both in the ardent romanticism of the Adagio and the cascading energy of the Allegro.”

“Soloist, Li-Wei Qin deserved all the accolades of a musical premier danseur, injecting character and individuality into his playing down to the last cadenza-like eruption. Instead of the expected Bach encore, a Lamentatio by the contemporary Italian Giovanni Sollima was a welcome surprise. For almost five minutes, the Australian cellist ran the virtuoso gamut, from vocalised lament to furioso outbursts, and held us rapt.”

William Dart

“Mr. Qin has a great deal going for him, including a meltingly beautiful tone, flawlessly centered intonation and an ironclad technique”

“Li-Wei is the most gifted young cellist I have heard. Aside from an extraordinary technical fluency, he has a musical intelligence and sensitivity which is breathtaking both for its maturity and profound vision”

“Li-Wei is an enormously promising cellist…charismatic, generous and committed.”

“His Locatelli in D was simply breathtaking…an encore of Rostropovich’s Humoresques was utterly awesome”

Managed by Graham Pushee: Email Graham February 2024

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