In 2009, Gao founded the duet with virtuoso erhu soloist Cathy Yang. They have been performing classical, crossover jazz, folk and rock music worldwide as a one of its kind ensemble promoting cultural understanding and exchange. Their next performance in the local area entitled "6ixwire United" will take place on Feb. 17-18, 2012, at 8 p.m. in Mitchell Hall as part of the 2011-12 UD Master Players Concert Series.
Gao, professor in UD's Department of Music, said the 6ixwire Project brings together two of the essential musical instruments from East and West, the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese violin, and the Western violin.
Thousands of years ago, most bowed string instruments originated in Persia, he said, and it is believed that during the Silk Road period one traveled to Europe and became the four stringed violin while the other went to China and became the most popular solo instrument in Asia, the two stringed erhu.
The instruments were reunited with the formation of the 6ixwire Project in 2009.This world-class ensemble's repertoire covers original and arranged compositions of all styles from Western classical to jazz and rock to bring the Eastern and Western cultures together in creative concert productions for the contemporary international audience.
Among the orchestras with which 6ixwire Project members have presented solo performances in recent seasons are the Detroit Symphony, the Czech Philharmonic, the Gothenburg Symphony-National Orchestra of Sweden, the Estonia National Symphony, the Mexico State Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, Aspen Music Festival orchestras, and the Knoxville Symphony.
In 2010, 6ixwire Project successfully premiered Sleep Now, O Earth, the theme song composed by founding member Gao for the U.S. celebration concert of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
Recognized as one of the world's most successful performing artists of his generation from China, Gao has been cited by The New York Times as "a rare and soulful virtuoso."
He has performed for many world leaders, and recently was a featured soloist for Chinese President Hu JinTao and the visiting King Carlos I of Spain. His musical integrity and virtuoso technique have gained accolades from audiences and reviewers around the world.
Gao is professor of music at UD and the ZiJiang Professor of Music at the East China Normal University in Shanghai.
In 2007, the Stradivari Society in Chicago selected Gao to be a recipient of world famous Stradivarius violins for his international solo concerts.
As a singer-songwriter, keyboardist and composer, Gao is also the founding artistic director of two non-profit music organizations in the U.S., the University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series and the China Music Foundation (USA).
In addition to being an erhu virtuoso and UD's Master Players Concert Series artist-in-residence, Yang is also a guzheng (Chinese zither) soloist and a professor of music at the China Contemporary Cultural Academy.
Yang has performed as a soloist at Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center, among other major concert halls in the U.S.
Besides her frequent concert appearances in China, in 2005 she appeared as an erhu and guzheng soloist in Nike Morris's Wheel of Life in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the West End's Peacock Theater in London.
The Chinese government has chosen Yang many times as a cultural ambassador to perform in Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, Los Angeles and other cities.
In May 2008, while visiting the U.S., she performed as a soloist before thousands of New York Mets fans at Shea Stadium. Yang was also a featured soloist during the 2008 Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, S.C.
Among the prestigious awards Yang has received in China are top prizes at the Long Yin Instrumental Competition, the Tian Hua erhu competition, the Chinese Ministry of Culture Annual Music Competition, and the Chinese National Cultural Foundation award.