During the 1980s, western instruments were practically unknown to most of the residents of Zhengzhou, an underdeveloped city in central China, so it is considered highly unusual for a girl born there to choose to play classical cello. Although coming from a very humble and traditional Chinese background my father identified that I might have a talent for music and this led him to send his five year old daughter to a music school to learn the cello. I learnt later that my father had always wanted to study music as a child but such an opportunity was impossible to achieve in his own childhood because of his family circumstances and so by allowing me to study music he was able to pass on his own unfulfilled dreams to me.

Despite many difficulties and with constant sacrifices being made by my family I managed to get a place at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, and where at twelve years of age the magical world of music without borders was at last open to me waiting to be explored.

I have now studied in professional music institutes for more than twelve years and I think that my experience has led me to see that building a career is like building a house, school life is the scaffolding and this determines the quality of the whole building. We sometimes differ in our blueprint and the effort devoted to the building process, so as a result we differ in our ultimate achievement. I am fortunate to have been brought up in a time filled with great hope, though hope is like a seed needing cultivation.

At a time when so many others in China are running faster and harder in pursuit of the latest tools and creations to fulfil their dreams, I’ve befriended a classical instrument steeped in western culture with which I play music belonging to the past. My hope is to run; dance and fly to the sound of my cello, and in doing so add some fresh elements thereby making my own contribution to an art form that has developed over hundreds of years.
- Li Lu, July 2005