©The UK Chinese Ensemble 1998-2010

UK Chinese Ensemble

The UK and Europe's leading Chinese music agency

Formally established in 1998, the UK Chinese Ensemble (UKCE) is a dedicated professional Chinese music organisation comprising renowned Chinese virtuosi resident mainly in Britain. Its founding members include world-class guqin master professor Li Xiangting, Daoist and erhu music expert Chen Dacan and pipa/guqin virtuoso and ethnomusicologist Dr Cheng Yu.

Since its inception, the ensemble and its musicians have performed many hundreds of concerts, festivals and workshops throughout the UK and in Europe. The group has appeared at such major venues as the London Southbank Centre's Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Royal Opera House and at the Brighton, Edinburgh and Pontardawe (Wales) Festivals. In Europe and beyond, the musicians have performed at the festivals of WOMEX (Spain), WOMAD (Canada, Sweden and Finland), Spoleto (Italy), Masala (Germany) and Babel Med Music (France). Apart from many published CD albums, the musicians are in demand for film and TV music recordings such as Disney's film Mulan and Shanghai Noon and the BBC's Wild China documentary. The UKCE has initiated and supported its award-winning group the Silk String Quartet and the popular Silk and Bamboo Ensemble as well as a Chinese-Western mixed ensemble, the Yin-Yang Collective.

Audio and video samples

Good News from Beijing



The aim of the organisation is to foster and support a sustainable Chinese musicians' collective to promote the practice, understanding and development of Chinese music in multi-cultural Britain and beyond.


What does UKCE offer?


"...an excellent group of Chinese virtuosi..." The Wire, Adventures in Modern Music.

"These are musicians to cherish, and to hear more often on the concert stage..." Journal of the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research (Chime).

"a virtuoso ensemble with such an exotic style... brilliant and impressive" - The Scotsman.

"a wonderful performance by the Chinese musicians...unique... excellent and enthralling" - Toronto Weekly News & Entertainment Voice.

Main members of the ensemble

Cheng Yu - pipa (4-stringed lute) and qin (7-stringed zither)

Chen Dacan - erhu, gaohu, jinghu (fiddles)

Hu Bin - erhu

Hu Ruijun - dizi and xiao (bamboo flutes)

Kim-Ho Ip - yangqin (hammered dulcimer)

Li Ming - yangqin (hammered dulcimer)

Liu Qing - erhu

Liu Xiaohu - sheng (mouth organ) and guanzi (double reed pipe), xun (ocarina)

Sun Zhuo - guzheng (21-stringed zither)

Wang Xiao - erhu (2-stringed fiddle)

Xiao Ying - guzheng

Zhou Jinyan - yangqin

Zhao Zhangren - yangqin

Zhu Xiaomeng - guzheng

The UK Chinese Ensemble is keen to take on fresh talent. We welcome UK-based professional, experienced Chinese musicians (instrumentalists, singers, opera artistes) to join us. If you are interested in joining our activities, please feel free to contact us.

Profile Highlights

  • Performances and concerts at the British Museum, The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army exhibition - September 2007 - April 2008

  • Recording for 6 series TV documentary music Wild China, BBC Bristol, October 2007

  • Performance in London's City Hall, Launch of China in London Season, February 2006

  • Performances and concerts at Royal Academy of Arts exhibition: China's Three Emperors: November 2005 - April 2006

  • The National Centre of Early Music Centre, York February 2005 and 2006

  • Film recording, Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights, Around the World in 80 Days 2003-2006

  • Performances and workshops at the Royal Museum of Scotland during exhibition: Qing Emperor Qianlong, September 2003

  • Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London, 2003, 2001 and 1998

  • UK, Europe and Middle East tour with Theatre Show - Shaolin: Wheel of Life 2000-2001

  • Hong Kong Festival, Hyde Park, London, July 2005 and 2001

  • Channel 4 TV music programme Howard Goodall's Big Bang, August 2000

  • Cambridge Folk Music Festival, July 2003

  • A CD publication - "Liushui" (Flowing Water) SOASIS, 2000

  • Edinburgh Festival, 1999 and 2001

  • London Arena - Hong Kong Festival, July 1997