Wen-Lei Gu

Wen-Lei Gu in Performance
Campus Address
Music-Drama Center
Room 257
Conservatory of Music
Associate Professor of Music

Violinist Wen-Lei Gu has won international acclaim as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician with her passionate playing and profound musicianship. The Frankfurter Neue Presse praised her playing as “a musical sensation -- top-notch musicianship and technical perfection!” A winner of numerous prizes in national and international violin competitions, Ms. Gu was the gold medalist in China’s National Violin Competition and the Heida Hermanns International Competition, the silver medalist in the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition and Ima Hogg Young Artist Competition. She made her international debut at age thirteen, performing the Saint–Saëns Violin Concerto in B minor in England with the legendary violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin at the baton. Menuhin said of her playing: “sounds like a poem, looks like a painting.” 

Ms. Gu has performed extensively as guest soloist and recitalist throughout the world, in distinguished venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Smetana Hall, La Sala Verdi, Beijing Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As concerto soloist, she has performed concerti of Bartok, Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Bruch, Elgar, Lalo, Mendelssohn, Paganini, Saint-Saens, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawki, with orchestras in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, her recitals have been frequently featured live on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Midday Show and the Sunday Afternoon Live at the Chazen, and Chicago WFMT Radio’s Live from WFMT and the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series

Ms. Gu's performance highlights have included performing at the Bach Festival at Carnegie Hall commemorating the 250th Anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death, appearing at the Kennedy Center for the Millennium Concert Series, performing Wieniawski Concerto No. 2 with the Houston Symphony to an audience of five thousand, and guest soloist with the China Beijing Philharmonic on their critically acclaimed concert tour of Europe.  Her recording of the complete Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano with pianist Catherine Kautsky was released in 2019 and received rave review as “a remarkable rapport, a deft sense of phrasing, and a keen awareness of subtle, almost imperceptible, changes in rhythm and moods, plus unfailingly beautiful tones that serve Brahms’ three sonatas to perfection.”

Ms. Gu received her bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School, a master’s from the Mannes College of Music, and a doctorate from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she received the prestigious Presser Award for outstanding achievement in music. Her teachers include Miriam Fried, Ida Kavafian, Sally Thomas, Dorothy Delay, and Yaoji Lin. In addition, she has studied chamber music with Felix Galimir, Menaham Pressler, and Janos Starker.   She is currently the associate professor of music at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Ms. Gu frequently adjudicates as a string judge in prominent national and international music competitions. 


B.M. in Violin Performance -- The Juilliard School
M.M. in Violin Performance -- Mannes College of Music
D.M. in Violin Performance -- Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Years at Lawrence