Hong Shao is master of the pipa, a four-stringed, pear-shaped lute that dates back to the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – 220 A.D.). It is considered one of the most intricate Chinese instruments, and it requires sophisticated skills to perform. Hong brought the pipa to Kentucky and has performed at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts, the University of Kentucky Asian Center, the University of Louisville School of Music, Indiana University, the Georgetown Kite and Culture Festival, the Mayfest Arts Fair in Lexington, Louisville’s Brown Theatre, the Kentucky Folklife Festival in Frankfort, and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, among others. Her typical concert offering includes 12 to 15 pipa solo works of various styles, although she also offers shorter, flexible performances of selected pieces in other concerts and events.
Hong Shao received her bachelor’s degree in music education with concentration in pipa from the School of Music, Harbin Normal University, Harbin, China. She taught music and musical instruments in the Second Professional High School of Harbin for five years. She then worked for the radio station of the Heilongjiang Province in China as music editor for five years and the head for the music department for two years before she moved to the United States. In August 2004, Hong joined the University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts as the patron service coordinator. She was a certified K-12 music teacher, taught Asian music classes at the University of Kentucky and has been a roster artist of the Kentucky Arts Council since 2003.
Her active engagement in promoting Chinese cultures in Kentucky through music education and performances dates back to 1993. She has offered pipa concerts and Tai Ji fan and sword dances, organized music and culture events, and given workshops and seminars to students, teachers and the general public across Kentucky and several neighboring states. She has frequently appeared on local news broadcasts and has been featured in local newspapers. In addition, she is the founder and artistic director of CMDAP (Chinese Music, Dance and Arts Program) through which she has successfully directed annual "Beauty of Jasmine" concerts and Chinese New Year Celebrations in communities since 2004. She encourages CMDAP students to get to know Chinese culture and develop their interests through learning Chinese music concepts, songs, dances, instruments and visual arts.