Introducing Patty Chan

The bowed strings. This section in the Chinese orchestra comprises mostly of instruments from the Huqin family: the gaohu, erhu, and zhonghu – all 2 string fiddles; along with the cello and double bass (welcome additions to the Chinese orchestra!).

Introducing this section is Patty W M Chan. Patty is a second generation Chinese Canadian erhu musician, educator, and author. She is the Music Director of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, and Director of Centre for Music Innovations.

As an erhu musician, Patty has collaborated with many ensembles and organizations, including the Strings of St. John’s, Red Snow Collective, the Toronto Masque Theatre, and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. She has performed in world premieres of theatre/opera productions such as Red Snow (2012), The Lesson of Da Ji (2013), Comfort (2016), and The Monkiest King (2018). Patty’s composition, Redemption: The Chan Kol Nidre (2015) for erhu and viola da gamba has been added to the archives at the Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, a museum for the Jewish people.

Patty has taught erhu and Chinese music at York University, Ryerson University, and Carleton University. She has led and participated in music exchanges and tours to Vancouver, Edmonton, Hong Kong, Beijing, Henan, Xi’an, and Taiwan. Patty published Playing Erhu – Bridging the Gap (2011), the world’s first erhu instruction book in English which has been sold in over 30 countries.

Sharing the beauty of traditional and contemporary music to a new generation and a new audience has always been her passion.