Conservatory 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, Miss Gu was the gold medalist in China’s National Violin Competition and the Heida Hermanns International Competition, the silver medalist in the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition and Ima Hogg Young Artist Competition. She made her international debut at age thirteen, performing the Saint–Saëns Violin Concertoin B minorin England with Yehudi Menuhin at the baton. Menuhin said of her playing: “sounds like a poem, looks like a painting.”
Miss Gu has performed extensively as guest soloist with orchestras and as 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. Possesing a wide range of repertoire, she has performed virtually all the major violin concertos as soloist with orchestra, including violin concertos of Bartok, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Elgar, Lalo, Mendelssohn, Paganini, Saint-Saens, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawki, etc. 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.
Miss Gu received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the Juilliard School, a Master of Music from the Mannes College of Music, and a Doctor of Music degree with a major in violin performance and a minor in music theory from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she received the prestigious Presser Award for outstanding achievement in music. She is currently the associate professor of music at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Miss Gu’s most recent recording of the complete Brahms Violin Sonatas with pianist Catherine Kautsky was released by Centaur Records in 2019. Phil’s Classical Reviews described the recording as showing “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.” Miss Gu regularly serves as an adjudicator for music competitions, including the Chicago Symphony Young Artists Competition, the Madison Symphony Bolz Young Artist Competition, and the Hong Kong International Music Competition.
M.M. in Violin Performance -- Mannes College of Music
D.M. in Violin Performance -- Indiana University Jacobs School of Music