Maestro Li Delun and the Li Delun Music Foundation

The notable Chinese musician and conductor, Li Delun, graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory where he studied the cello with I. Shevtzov and R. Duckson as well as music theory with W. Frankel. He organized the China Youth Symphony Orchestra with his schoolmate in 1942. His career as a conductor started in 1943. In 1946, with support from Zhou Enlai (who in 1949 became the first Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China) Li Delun took an assortment of donated musical instruments to the city of Yan-An and became the founder, instructor, and conductor of the Yan'an Central Orchestra, China's first professional symphony orchestra. When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, Li Delun was nominated as the conductor of the China Central Opera House in Beijing.  

Maestro Li Delun

From 1953 to 1957, Li Delun was enrolled by the Moscow Conservatory to further his study in conducting with Professor Nickolai Anosov, and conducted over 20 orchestras throughout the former USSR. In the fall of 1957, after graduating from the Moscow Conservatory, he returned to China and became Conductor and Artistic Director of the China Central Philharmonic Orchestra. He also appeared as conductor in Czechoslovakia, Finland, Japan, Korea and Cuba in the following years.

In 1977, during the political tumult of the late 1970’s, Li Delun bravely conducted L.v. Beethoven's 5th Symphony in a gala concert commemorating the 150th anniversary of L.v. Beethoven's death, which was a historical concert in China's musical history. The event marked China's first public performance of the piece since the 10-year long Cultural Revolution: it drew worldwide attention and signaled the reemergence of classical music in China. Ten years later, he conducted yet another impressive concert of which more than 810 musicians gathered together to open the Beijing Symphonic Festival. The China Central Philharmonic Society travelled the world performing under his baton. From 1985 to 1995, as a guest conductor, Li Delun toured Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Canada, USA, Soviet Union, Chinese Hong Kong and Taiwan. He guest-conducted numerous international orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 1986 and 1989 respectively. Later he was Advisor of the China National Symphony Orchestra.

Delun devoted his life to the promotion of classical music in China. As an outstanding Chinese musician, he premiered many Chinese works. He also introduced many Chinese composers' works abroad including The Yellow River Cantata and Song of Mountain Forest. 


"Maestro Li Delun was a dedicated musician and a tireless ambassador for music in China and beyond. I hope he would be happy to see the results of the seeds he planted during his life time flourishing today in China." 

—Yo-yo Ma

Yo-yo Ma and Li Delun

In 1979, Maestro Li joined hands with American violinist Isaac Stern to perform the violin concertos of W.A. Mozart and Johannes Brahms. This historical musical collaboration was captured in the Academy Award-winning documentary “From Mao to Mozart”, which offered some of the first glimpses of a newly opening China. In the ensuing years, Li served as a bridge between musicians from China and abroad, performing with many world-class musicians including David Oistrakh, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Paul Tortelier, Yo-Yo Ma, Fou Ts'ong, Bezrodnai, Tatiana Nikolayeva and Leonora Milà, as well as well-known Chinese pianists Loyi Wu, Liu Shikun, Yin Cheng zong and Shi Shucheng, violinists Lu Siqing, Xue Wei and Yu Linan, and many others.

Li Delun had been a member of the Jury at the Menuhin International Violin Competition in Paris in 1985 and the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1986. He was the President of the Jury at the National Competition of Orchestra Conductors in China in 1993. He devoted himself to musical education, believing that classical music was not rarefied art for the upper class but rather something to be enjoyed by all. He was a tireless advocate for classical music and spent his free time lecturing on the subject of music enjoyment throughout China, presenting its beauty and sophistication with a simple and humorous delivery to university students and factory workers alike, making it appealing to the younger generation as well as the general public. He has given hundreds of lectures in more than 20 cities in China.

Li Delun was awarded the Honorary Prize of Conductorship of China in 1980. His professional and philanthropic work earned him rewards and accolades around the world. He was granted the Liszt Memory Medal by the Ministry of Culture and Education of Hungary in 1986, and was awarded the National Medal of Friendship by President Boris Yeltsin of Russia in 1997. He adjudicated for the International Tchaikovsky Cello Competition in Moscow in 1990 and the International Menuhin Violin Competition in Paris.

On October 19, 2001, Li Delun died at age 84 in a Beijing hospital, after having lived a full and meaningful life dedicated to music. 

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Li Delun Music Foundation
was established in 2002 in Toronto as a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of cultural exchange between the east and the west through musical events.  

Named after the renowned Chinese conductor Li Delun, who founded the first symphony orchestra in People’s Republic of China, the foundation is now well known in the community as a presenter of high quality musical events such as the annual “East-Meets-West New Year’s Concert” at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Aside from forming the Toronto Festival Orchestra, which gives talented young aspiring musicians a chance to work alongside with seasoned professionals, the foundation also provides a platform for young up-and-coming soloists to play on the concert hall stage accompanied by a professional orchestra in front of a live appreciating audience.

The Li Delun Music Foundation also holds masterclasses given by international acclaimed artists such as Liu Shikun, Lang Lang, Sa Chen and Haochen Zhang, and continues to hold educational events for young audiences of all ethnicities and musical background. 


"Maestro Li Delun was a titan in the music world of China... the teaching and exemplary role he played have benefited many Chinese music workers... wishing his spirit to inspire all the music colleagues on their way forward." 

—Lang Lang

The many concerts and music events would be impossible without the generous support of our sponsors. We cannot thank them enough!

Here are some of our main sponsors from past to present. If you'd like to join them in helping our cause, please contact us by sending an email to

Board Members

Honorary Chairman
Wu Zuqiang, Composer
吳祖强, 作曲家
Honorary President of the Chinese Musicians' Association
Honorary President of the Central Conservatory of Music, China
中央音樂学院教授, 名誉院长
Honorary Artistic Director
Lang Lang, Pianist
郎朗, 鋼琴家
Honorary Advisors
Huang Feili, Conductor
黄飛立, 指揮
Yan Liangkun, Conductor
嚴良坤, 指揮
Honorary Vice Chairman
Kai Wu (Tom Wu), President of Kaiyaoservice
吳凱 加拿大凯耀, 留學移民投資集團總裁
Yan Li
Ying Lin
Board of Directors
Anli Huang
Weifen Wang
Hank Zhang
Taining Zhang
Dong Sheng
Qian Zhao
Leonard Gilbert
Jason Li
Representative in China
Lu li
Executive Directors Kemin Zhang
Rosalind Zhang
Our Volunteers

  • Kemin Zhang
    Executive Director

  • Rosalind Zhang
    Executive Director

  • Yan Li

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    Tai-ning Zhang
    General Manager
  • Liu Chen
    Executive Director
  • zhaoqian.jpg
    Qian Zhao
    Music Supervisor
  • hank.jpg
    Hank Zhang
  • linying.jpg
    Ying Lin
  • WechatIMG3.jpeg
    Yimin Zhou
  • yewei.jpg
    Ellen Wei Ye
  • dodi.jpg
    Xiaoxing Liu
    Production Assistant
  • Shirley Zhou
    Public Relations
  • Rain Liu
    Public Relations

  • Xinyue
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    Julia Hong Qiao
  • Mary Ma
  • Freya Liu
  • Rui Wang
    Stage Manager
  • Amy Bai
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    Jerry Zhou