Hong Kong's HiFi Magazine praised him as the "Paganini in the world of Erhu," and the Richmond Times Dispatch exclaimed that he“sounds like another Heifetz." Mr. Xu Ke (last name Xu) was born in 1960 in Nanjing, China. He received his B.M. in 1982 with honors from the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, where he studied under the erhu master Mr. Yusong Lan. He was the principal Erhu player of the China National Traditional Orchestra in 1983. In 1986, he toured the United States as the music director of a good-will Chinese music delegation. His solo debut performance in 1987 with the China National Traditional Orchestra in Beijing Concert Hall caused a great sensation in China, prompting the media to dub him "a genius Erhu player."
Since 1987, he has been performing as a soloist with many orchestra throughout the world. These including six performances with the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra at the Tokyo Suntory Hall under Yuzo Toyama, fourteen concerts with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space Concert Hall, ten times with Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tokyo Bunkamura Orchard Hall, New Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra of New Zealand, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, and The philharmonic Orchestra of China. He has also played recitals in Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Canada, Estonia, China, and the United States.
The superb technique, deep understanding and exciting interpretation of the erhu repertoire has earned Xu Ke an international following. He is also an outstanding composer as well as an ardent erhu reformer. Xu Ke has expanded the erhu's range from two to more than four octaves. He has also developed techniques such as double stopping, artificial harmonics in high position and graduated prestissimo staccato. Because of his contributions, the erhu's repertoire has been enlarged and enriched. He has made many presentation/work- shops in many universities including Tokyo Arts University, Central University of Japan, Tokyo Women's University, Sibelius Music Akatemia, Old Dominion University, The University of New Mexico, Duke University, University of Missouri, Kannsas City Conservatory of Music. He served as the special researcher at the social studies deparment of the Waseda University of Japan.
Xu Ke had been the first erhu master in the world to record under the RCA label. Among his many recordings, his discography includes Elegy/Xu Ke Erhu Recital, Wind & Rhythm/Xu Ke Erhu Concerto, Zigeunerweisen-Erhu Classical Favourites/Xu Ke, Lullaby, Liebesfreud, My Way, Song of the Birds, Sweetie, A String of Melodies/Xu Ke-Erhu, and The Butterfly Lovers Concerto. The last one received a platinum disc award from the Hong Kong recording industry in 1992. Mr. Xu had signed a resident artist contract with BMG Japan (RCA label) Inc., largely advancing the status of the world of music recordings. Right now he records for his own XUA (XU Arts) label, under which he has released Thinking of, Liebesleid, and Saima, as well as his first DVD Csardas.
Invited by Yo-Yo Ma, Mr. Xu participated in the Silk Road Project in July 2000 at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. In addition, he had debut performances of the Fiddle Suite by composer Chen Yi, in Konzerthaus, Berlin and Herkulessaal, Munich and other Major concert halls in Germany with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in Oct. 2000. The Germany National Radio Station interviewed him and broadcasted his performance. The concert was a great success, and received critical acclaim. Shortly afterwards, Xu Ke joined with Yo-Yo, Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble for Asian tour to perform at Hong Kong Arts Festival, Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei in March 2001. He was also the artistic director of "Silk Road Music" concert in the 17th Tokyo Summer Festival in Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in July 2001. In 2002, He had held a sensational recital at the Jorden Hall, Boston. The first CD on the Silk Road Project with Yo-Yo Ma, Xu Ke and the ensemble was released on the Sony Classical label.
In September 2003, Xu Ke made a successful recital debut at the Carnegie Hall. Most recently, he has performed with such groups as the Boston Modern Orchestra, Shanghai Quartet, NY Metropolitan Symphony Orchsetra, while traveling worldwide to hold numerous recitals and master classes. In March 2004, he was named Guest Professor of Erhu at the Central Conservatory of Music, becoming the first overseas resident to be bestowed such great honor from his homeland. Currently, Xu ke resides in N.Y. and Tokyo.