Zhao Taisheng

Zhao Taisheng

Zhao Taisheng is currently Sanxian Principal with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, a member of the Chinese Musicians’ Association and the China Nationalities Orchestra Society, and a committee member of the Central Conservatory of Music Alumni Association (Hong Kong). He graduated from the Conservatory in 1988, where he trained in sanxian under Professor Xiao Jiansheng, Wang Zhenxian and Tan Longjian at the Traditional Instruments Department. In his second year at the Conservatory, he won the Dunhuang Class One Award at the First International Jiangnan Wind and String Competition, a Class One Performance Award with A Festive Procession and another Class One Award for the new work Eulogy of the South. In 1996, his premiere of Demon from Heaven won an Outstanding Performance Award at the 3rd All China Folk Music Instrumental Music Showcase, and he was honoured by the Government of the Beijing Municipality for his meritorious achievements in culture. He was named one of the ‘Ten Best Performers of Beijing’ in 1998.


He appeared on CCTV during the Chinese New Year of 2000 and performed Sending the Tiger Back to Its Mountain Hideout solo in a standing position, which marked him as the first sanxian artist to perform like this in China. He has cut many recordings, and was the most frequently collaborated sanxian accompanist for the famous actor, Zhao Benshan, in such representative recordings as Liu Laogen and Marshall Ma.


Zhao joined the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in 2005 as a sanxian musician. He was a guest performer at Hacken Lee’s concert in 2011, in which he demonstrated the amazing potential and charm of the sanxian. He later went on Hacken’s world tour and wherever they went, the segment that featured Zhao in traditional Chinese costume playing the sanxian invariably won rave response from the audience. In 2013, 14 and 15, when he was on tour to Russia, Singapore and Estonia, his self-accompanied singing performance of Song of the Black Earth on the sanxian won standing ovations from the house. Back home in Shanghai, Dalian and Wuhan, this performance also brought the house down. In HKCO’s China Tour 2017 that celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR, covering Wuhan, Shenyang and Chengdu, his reprised performance of self-accompanied singing of Song of the Black Earth on the sanxian again won thundering applause. In the 2017 concert ‘The Jiangzhou Connection’, Zhao joined hands with the drum virtuoso from Jiangzhou, Cai Lifeng, in performing the world premiere of Strings and Drums Resonating. It marked the first ever duo of its kind with the unusual sounds of sanxian and dagu, the big drum. In the 2018 concert ‘Heart for Home - Music that Evokes Nostalgia’, Zhao performed The Abacus Rondo using the Chinese abacus as musical instrument. His vivid portrayal of a Chinese merchant’s spectrum of moods made it the most popular item on the programme.