Ms Yao Jue
Honorary University Fellow (2022)
Ms Yao Jue remembers holding a violin when she was still a small child and making squeaky noises when she tried to bow the strings. As time went by, her technique improved and she began playing melodious music. Although at times she would slack off, or be mischievous and cut the violin strings, she persisted in playing it after realising her passion for the violin. After years of hard work, she finally established herself as a famous violinist both at home and abroad, and she became the kind of person that her father wanted her to be.
Ms Yao’s musical journey started in Shanghai, China, where she was born. She studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and later the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, before graduating from the Juilliard School in New York. Over the years, she has left her musical footprints all over the world, performing to a full house at many recitals. She has also been invited to perform alongside world-renowned orchestras and she has participated in numerous grand musical events.
Ms Yao is undoubtedly known for her iconic renditions of the violin concerto The Butterfly Lovers. As a person of Jiangsu-Zhejiang descent who carries a sense of delicate romance, she expresses profound sentiments that move people’s hearts whenever she performs this legendary classic. This was also the piece of music that she played at her first performance in Hong Kong in the 1980s. She has also played this piece in different places in order to promote Chinese culture to the world as a Chinese artist. Nevertheless, what means the most to her is that The Butterfly Lovers was the first piece of music that Ms Yao and her father, Mr Yao Di, ever performed together.
Indeed, the violin has not only brought her a successful career, but it has also given her a purpose in life. Ms Yao is convinced that there is always a reason for everyone to be born into this world. For her, it is “to bring the positive energy in music to society.”
Ms Yao’s achievements have long been recognised in society, and she has won many honours. She was named as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Hong Kong” as well as one of the “Outstanding Women of the Year”, and she has received the “Outstanding Women Professionals Award” and the “World Outstanding Chinese Artist Award”. She was also conferred a Bronze Bauhinia Star and appointed as a Justice of the Peace by the HKSAR Government. In addition, she is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a member of the Council of the China Musicians Association, and a committee member of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Hong Kong Member Association. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund, and the Council of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. This is certainly a brilliant track record. Despite the honours and commendations she has attained, Ms Yao remains humble and grateful. She often reflects on the ways she can improve, hoping to live up to the recognition and honours she has received.
While Ms Yao has reached the top of her artistic field with her distinguished accomplishments, she is committed to contributing to society and promoting the inheritance of classical music. To nurture local musical talent, Ms Yao founded the Hong Kong String Orchestra in 2013, and has helped many youngsters fulfil their dreams of being a musician. The plight of underprivileged children is also dear to her heart. Since 2015, she has led the Orchestra to enthusiastically implement the Jockey Club Power of Music Programme with the support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Through the “Light of Hope” Music Training Programme, underprivileged children are given complimentary violin training. They also have the chance to gain experience by performing in the “Share the Joy” Community Concert Series and the “All About Love” Concert Series. Through the Programme, Ms Yao makes classical music accessible to the general public, and, more importantly, she lets the underprivileged children shine in the music sector, brightening their lives with music.
Ms Yao and HKBU became acquainted through music. She once performed as a special guest musician at the Hong Kong Baptist University Symphony Orchestra Annual Gala Concert, and she has been advising on the development of the Academy of Music. Looking beyond, she sees that the future development of the arts and the potential for Hong Kong to become a music and cultural centre lies in the synergy of traditional music and cutting-edge technology. She not only endorsed the idea of establishing the School of Creative Arts, but also looks forward to playing a part in the School’s future journey.
Ms Yao has achieved so much in music and the arts, and she has spared no effort in cultivating young musical talent. She has made enormous contributions to the promotion and development of the arts. This Honorary University Fellowship is undoubtedly well deserved.