Yuen Shi Chun

Yuen Shi Chun is a pioneer in the revival and remodeling of Chinese traditional musical instruments. He was born into a family of architects in Hong Kong, having studied civil engineering himself. He joined the newly formed Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in 1974 and was appointed Liuqin Principal. He has performed and given talks in many parts of the world, covering Asia, Europe, America and Australia. In his spare time, Yuen has been conducting a self-financed project dedicated to the revival, design, research and making of ancient Chinese instruments such as Tang wuxianpipa (‘five-string pipa of Tang Dynasty’), quxiangpipa (‘crooked-neck pipa’), Tang ruanxian, Qinqin etc. The families of liuqin with double resonators and ruanxian that he modified won the Class Two Technology Advancement Award (in 1992 and 1996) and a National Class Three Technology Advancement Award (in 1998) from the Ministry of Culture of China respectively. The two families of modified instruments are now being used by many Chinese orchestras all over the world.

Yuen was presented the Award for Arts Achievement (Music) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2003, and was appointed Research and Development Officer (Musical Instrument) by the HKCO in the same year. The Eco-Huqin Series that he first developed in 2005 has since included the gaohu, erhu, zhonghu, gehu and bass gehu. On the recommendation of the Home Affairs Bureau of Hong Kong, the Series won the ‘4th Ministry of Culture Innovation Award’ of the People’s Republic of China in 2012. It was followed by several other awards between 2012 and 2016.

Yuen is an influential figure in the music circles of China and beyond, as well as in the academic sector, having opened up new horizons in academic research and in the performing arts with his contribution to the revival of ancient instruments and improvements on the modern versions.