Yamei Yu was five when she played her first notes on a violin. This was in her native city of Tian Jin, in China. Her parents had chosen the violin because it cost only half a month’s salary, whereas they would have had to save for twenty years to afford a piano. Today this fabulous violinist can already look back on her successful tenure as leader of two prestigious orchestras. She led the orchestra of the Komische Oper, Berlin, from 1996 to 2001, when Zubin Mehta heard her and was so impressed that he persuaded her to lead the Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich. She remained its leader until 2010, firstly under Mehta, who had discovered her, and subsequently under his successor as musical director, Kent Nagano.
Since the winter term of 2009/10 Yamei Yu has concentrated on teaching, which has long interested her. “I had already done some teaching at the Musikhochschulen in Munich and Mannheim,” she says. “I greatly enjoy passing on my knowledge and practical experience.”
But she does not neglect her active music making. She maintains a busy schedule as a soloist and is also a member of the Trio Parnassus, which performs all over the world. Together with the pianist Chai Chou and the cellist Michael Gross she has recorded several rarely heard gems, including chamber music by Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1772 1806) and the complete piano trios of the French composer, Benjamin Godard (1849 1895). Their recording of chamber music by Peteris Vasks was nominated for the 2009 BBC Award, and their interpretations greatly impressed the Latvian composer himself. In addition to all this she is also in demand as a guest concertmaster.
As soloist, Yamei Yu has worked with conductors including Ivor Bolton, Vladimir Jurowski, Yakov Kreizberg, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Kent Nagano, Ulf Schirmer and Sebastian Weigle.
Yamei Yu, born in China, has studied at Beijing’s Conservatory with Shengin Huang, in Munich with Gottfried Schneider and graduated with Christoph Poppen in Berlin. She was further significantly inspired by Ulf Hoelscher and Dénes Zsigmondy. Yamei Yu was awarded important prizes at international competitions, including the Tibor Varga Wettbewerb in Sion/Switzerland, Louis Spohr Wettbewerb in Freiburg im Breisgau/Germany, Leopold Mozart Wettbewerb in Augsburg/Germany and at the prestigious ARD Competition in Munich.
From 2001 until 2009, Yamei Yu held the position of First Concertmaster at the Bavarian State Orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich – during Zubin Mehta’s and subsequently Kent Nagano’s reign as Music Directors. In Munich she played a stradivari „Tartini” from the master’s „golden periode”. Earlier, from 1996 to 2001, she held the same position at Komische Oper Berlin with Yakov Kreizberg as Music Dircector.
Since 1996 Yamei Yu has worked with conductors including Herbert Blomstedt, Ivor Bolton, Semyon Bychkov, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniel Harding, Fabio Luisi, Kurt Masur, Roger Norrington, Kirill Petrenko, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Ulf Schirmer and Marcello Viotti.
Yamei Yu highly values playing her beloved chamber music and works with partners including famous artists like Yuri Bashmet, Ralf Gothoni, Maria Graf, Ulf Hoelscher, Eugène Istomin, Gidon Kremer, Kolja Lessing, Jens Peter Maintz, Siegfried Mauser, Boris Pergamenschikow, Gustav Rivinius, Hartmut Rohde, Michael Sanderling, Hariolf Schlichtig and Radovan Vlatkovic as well as the Berliner Solistenoktett, Leipziger Streichquartett, Rosamunde Streichquartett and Vermeer Streichquartett.
Since May 2005, Yamei Yu is a member of well known piano trio “Trio Parnassus”. Several of her CD recordings have been awarded with prizes such as Deutsche Schallplattenkritik 2007 [Schumann piano quartetts with Hariolf Schlichtig] and Echo Preis 2008 [Korngold recording of trio and piano quartett with Mathias Wollong].
Yamei Yu has performed at international festivals such as Ravinia Festival Chicago, Richard Strauss Festival Garmisch Partenkirchen/Germany, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and Figueres/Barcelona, Roskilde (Danmark), at Berliner Festwochen, Leipziger Bachfest, Stuttgarter Bachwochen, Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Mecklenburg Vorpommern Musik Festival, Salzburg Festival as well as at Festival van Vlaanderen, Internationales Kammermusikfestival Stavanger, Osloer Kammermusikfestival, Festival Crete Senesi/Italy. She performed at famous venues including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Berliner Philharmonie, Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Herkulessaal in Munich, Wiener Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall London, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid.
Since 2009, Yamei Yu holds the position of „Professor” at the Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf, Germany, and teaches Master Classes worldwide. Today she plays on a Goffriller.