About Susanne Hou

Yi-Jia Susanne Hou

International Violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou is the first ever violinist to capture 3 Gold Medals with unanimous Juries at 3 International Violin Competitions: Concours International Long-Thibaud (France, 1999), Lipizer International Violin Competition (Italy, 1999) and Sarasate International Violin Competition (Spain, 1997.)

Hou has collaborated with world-renowned Directors and Artists such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Alan Gilbert, Cho Liang Lin, Vladimir Spivakov, Marcello Viotti, Marek Janowski, Lan Shui, Boris Brott, Robert McDuffie, Ralph Kirschbaum, Lawrence Dutton, Joseph Kalichstein, Alain Trudel, Bernhard Gueller, Gregory Vajda, Ling Tung, and Li Xin Cao, among others.

Hou’s new music video ‘The Devil’s Delight’, produced by Rhombus Media, just premiered on Bravo!TV; she also stars in a new documentary on the “Canada Council Instrument Bank”, A Rotating Planet Production which is Directed by Ari Cohen for Bravo!TV. She performed the violin solo in the Atom Egoyan film "Adoration" which won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Festival de Cannes, featuring music composed by Mychael Danna, and was the subject of CBC’s ’The National’ Documentary: Shanghai Sensation, revisiting her childhood in Shanghai, with her father, Alec Hou, a renowned violin pedagogue in China. Hou has also been seen on PBS, Bravo! and the TODAY SHOW with BOWFIRE.

Most recently, Yi-Jia Susanne Hou - ’little miss violin’ was commissioned by CPA, Boca Raton to produce her very own Classical Musical: Around the World of Music in 80 Minutes reaching over 13,000 audience through 9 sold out World Premiere Performances. She will continue on with CPA to produce an annual 6-concert series aboard Celebrity Cruises ‘Reflection’ beginning in winter, 2012.

As a solo violinist, Hou has traveled the world, touring in Canada with Debut Atlantic & Prairie Debut, and throughout the United States, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Her numerous solo appearances include the London Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Nationale de l’Île de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, WDR Cologne, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chicago Sinfonietta, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Tokyo Philharmonic, Osaka-Kansai Philharmonic, Shanghai Broadcasting Orchestra, Czech National Orchestra, and Slovenia Radio-Television Orchestra. Festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society, Grand Teton Music Festival, Rome Chamber Music Festival, Bordeaux Musique en Graves, and Amis de Mozart, among others.
At 17, Hou performed the most challenging pieces ever written for the violin: Paganini’s Twenty-four Caprices for Solo Violin, in live recitals in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the Aspen Music Festival. Ms. Hou has also performed all 10 of Beethoven’s Piano and Violin Sonatas in New York as well as the complete collection of Brahms Violin and Piano Sonatas and Piano Trios.

Born into a musical family, Ms. Hou had music surrounding her all her life. Both her mother and father are violinists, and thus at the tender age of 4, Hou began studying violin with her father, Alec Hou. Less than a year later, she gave her first public performance and was received with a standing ovation. At nine, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto invited her as a scholarship student. Since then, Hou has had scholarships and fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival for nine summers, as well as The Juilliard School where she received her Bachelor of music as a student of Dorothy DeLay and Naoko Tanaka in 2000. She then went on to do a 1-year Masters program, and completed the highly acclaimed Artist Diploma Program in Juilliard with Cho Liang Lin and Naoko Tanaka.

The outstanding violin being used by Yi-Jia Susanne Hou is the ex Mary Portman, Fritz Kreisler Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, Cremona, c. 1735 on extended loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the generous efforts of The Stradivari Society® of Chicago. The Stradivari Society® is a unique organization that supports the very highest level of string playing by assisting patrons who own the most precious antique Italian instruments and choose to make them available to artists of exceptional talent and ability.
Yi-Jia Susanne Hou wishes to share these thoughts with her audiences:

“My parents were both great violinists of a different time and world. Their career growth was stunted due to unforgiving world circumstances and they did not have the opportunities I have always had. Their life experiences have had a deep impact on me and have been an unwavering source of inspiration. I have never taken for granted my ‘gift’ of being able to pursue what I love. Too often people take opportunities for granted because we live in such a free world, but growing up knowing both my parents nearly died for what they believed in gives me the utmost appreciation and respect for our gift of life and freedom of dreams...

In my lifetime, I hope to share with my audiences my passion and love for what I do. I hope to encourage everyone to pursue their own dreams and I hope to actively advocate cultural exchange and musical education in young and old alike. It is a grand and humble service to be an artist in our world and I merely hope to do my part.”

“She’s absolutely phenomenal…”

—Lord Yehudi Menuhin

"I was overwhelmed by the sensitivity of her playing...she is an extraordinary artist. The violin plays a huge part in the soundtrack of the film, and her detailed and highly charged performance is full of emotional nuance."  

—Atom Egoyan, Director of ’Adoration’

“The binding ingredient of “Adoration” is its rich, violin-soaked musical soundtrack by Mychael Danna. Its mood of sorrowful sensuality evokes the troubled histories of flesh-and-blood people whose complicated personal stories, if we knew them, might or might not provide reasons for heinous crimes against humanity.”
—The NY Times

“Hou’s performance was of the greatest and highest international level. She is fragile, but only at first sight. Her sound is crafted and rich; the g-string getting under your skin… Hou reminds me of Kyung Wa Chung at the height of her career…”
—Christophe Huss, Le Devoir, Canada

“Hou is remarkable, her playing an idealistic dream of perfection, her sound full of humanity, sweetness and musical understanding and projected on her superb Guarneri del Gesu violin with heart-stopping purity in her uppermost register and a richly resonant sound on the lowest strings.

Playing such as this, flawless, filled with light and meaning, makes you feel shy, as if you were witnessing a miracle, something for which there is no explanation, only highly sensitized awareness.”
—Stephen Pedersen, Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia

“It sometimes seems that the world is mass-producing great instrumentalists. What sets Yi-Jia Susanne Hou apart from her many brilliant contemporaries is a style of playing that combines the executant skill of today’s best with the expressiveness of violinists 50 to 150 years ago…I cannot recall hearing a violinist in a live performance who could coax as big a tone out of a violin; she can also draw a fine-spun pianissimo.”
—Robert McColley, Fanfare Magazine USA

“Her sound is strangely strong yet delicate; her technique near flawless…”
—The Strad

“Wearing an elegant gown, Hou, making her fifth appearance with the orchestra, demonstrated an admirable ability to put the audience at ease, as if guests in her living room, yet still convey the depth and gravity of emotion in Bruch’s music…this concerto makes great use of double-, triple-, even quadruple-stops, and Hou sailed through them clearly and seemingly without effort…(the 2nd movement was) lyrically beautiful, it felt as if each note was given individual care…and hearing Kreisler’s music (encore) played on his violin was indeed a pleasure.”
—Keila Huss, Daily Breeze Los Angeles, California

“From the very first phrase, Hou demonstrated that she is the possessor of a gigantic sound, a perfectly centered tone, and a deep understanding of musical structure. She showed absolute confidence and mastery in every respect of her program, which extended from Beethoven to Kreisler, and easily exuded the star quality that has put her in the spotlight as a lead violinist…”
—Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Arts Paper, Florida