Before joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1997, Qing Hou was a member of the San Francisco Symphony. An avid chamber musician, she has performed for the Andover Chamber Music Society and at festivals in Madison, Wis.; Napa, Calif.; El Paso, Texas, and Sun Valley, Idaho, as well as in Europe. She has been heard on NPR’s “Performance Today” and regularly performs in the Chicago area in various ensembles. In 1997, Qing, along with her sister, CSO violinist Lei Hou, and CSO violist Lawrence Neuman founded the Lincoln String Quartet.

Why did you choose your instrument?

As the little sister, I wanted to do what my big sister (Lei Hou) was doing.

What work are you most looking forward to performing this season, and why?

I’m very much looking forward to playing Mahler’s First Symphony under Maestro Muti in June. This will be the first time we’ve played Mahler with our wonderful music director, and I love that symphony.

Offstage, I like to:

Cook and enjoy good food with family and friends; go on dates with my husband (CSO violist Larry Neuman) on our tandem bicycle or any kind of fun outings with our son.

Favorite food or meal:

This is difficult, because I love tasting all different kinds of food. I often think I would enjoy being a food critic. Some of my most enjoyable dining or food experiences have been while traveling on tour with the CSO, especially in Japan.

Favorite book or movie:

Here’s a list of films that I loved at the time and that demonstrate how infrequently I go to the movies these days: “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Amadeus,” “The Shining.” These are some of the films I saw when I first came to the United States, and they made a big impression on me.


HOMETOWN: Lanzhou, China.


EDUCATION: Beijing Central Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory of Music.

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