SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

The First London International Guqin Festival 2018

IMG - guqin festival pink

Date: 21 August 2018Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 26 August 2018Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Various

Type of Event: Festival


The London Youlan Qin Society (LYQS, Est. 2003), in partnership with the SOAS China Institute, is proud to present the London International Guqin Festival – the first of its kind in the West. It will comprise:

  • 4-day Summer School
  • Film screening
  • 2-day Conference
  • Master Classes
  • Concerts

The Festival will feature two of the most influential and best known guqin masters in China: Professor Li Xiangting (Principal Professor of guqin, China Central Conservatory of Music) and Professor Zeng Chengwei (Professor of guqin, Sichuan conservatory of Music, Chengdu, Master of the Shu style of guqin, Southwest China). Both are nationally listed masters of the “Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. They will present master classes, performances, talks and discussions during the festival. 

Also featuring UK guqin players, musicians from the UK Chinese Music Ensemble, the China-UK Opera Association, Dr Cheng Yu, Mr Charles Rupert Tsua, and scholars including Dr Rachel Harris, Dr Edward Luper and others from Europe and beyond. Guqin player and teacher Zeng He will share some of the teaching.

The qin or guqin is a symbol of China’s literati culture and the first of the four elements of traditional arts along with Chinese Chess, calligraphy and painting. It is also the only Chinese instrument recognised by UNESCO as part of the “Intangible and Oral Heritage of Humanity”. LYQS has successfully held 15 summer schools, dozens of concerts and talks and over a hundred regular yaji (refined gathering) meetings. In recent years, LYQS has seen its membership grow and interest to develop, exchange and engage with the rest of the world. This Festival will enable performers, students, scholars, and Chinese music and culture enthusiasts to gather to exchange thoughts, showcase talent and renew friendly ties with the rest of the world. So far there has been no such activity outside Chinese speaking countries.

Summer School – 21st to 24th August 2018

Building on the success of LYQS’s previous 15 summer schools, they will hold a 4-full day course focusing on guqin music at SOAS, University of London.

Find out more and register here.

Film screening

London's premiere screening of On the Track of Robert Van Gulik 寻踪高罗佩 by Rob Rombout, introduced by Marie-Anne Souloumiac – Van Gulik 高若兰 (1981, Paris) will take place on Friday, 24 August 2018, 7pm-9pm.

Find out more and register here.


  • Saturday, 25 August 2018, 7.30pm-9pm: Concert in Kamran Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT)
  • Sunday, 26 August 2018, 7pm-9pm: Concert in Kamran Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT) - This concert is for festival participants. We welcome professional and amateur qin players to perform in this concert (approx. 4-6 minutes per player). Certificates for the performers will be given by the masters and officials from local government or the Chinese Embassy in London. Please contact the LYQS if you are interested:

Other associated concerts at external venues will take place on 20th, 21st and 23rd August 2018.

Book tickets here for concerts. 

Conference – 25th and 26th August,  SOAS, University of London

The 2-day conference will comprise of a roundtable discussion, academic presentations on the guqin and its music and a concert.

Conference Theme:  “The Guqin art and its Revival in the 21st Century”.

Find out more and register here.

The First London International Guqin Festival 2018 will consist of a diverse range of concerts, Summer school, Grand Yaji gathering, Master classes and other associated events. For the full list of events please visit the London Youlan Qin Society website.

Organiser: The London Youlan Qin Society and SOAS China Institute

Contact email: