Peng CAO, one of China’s most distinguished conductors, is the former director of the Shanghai Film Orchestra and the Beijing Film Orchestra. He is respected and revered for decades throughout the country and abroad, and is known for having recorded a large number of film scores.
Mr. CAO graduated from the Moscow Conservatory of Music, during which he studied with Prof. L. Ginzburg. He conducted concerts and opera performances with orchestras like the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, and received warm welcome for his direction of the debut of Chinese repertoire, among them, the “Butterfly Lovers” violin concerto.
Following his return to his homeland, Mr. CAO was appointed conductor and artistic director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, director and chief conductor of the Shanghai Philharmonic, and the Shanghai Chamber Orchestra.
Mr. CAO has also toured around the world with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Philharmonic and the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra, and was regularly invited by other Chinese and foreign orchestras. He has been invited to be jury member at various international music competitions and has coached quite a few excellent students during his tenure as a Master tutor of the department of conducting at the Shanghai Conservatory. He is also honorary professor of a few universities in Shanghai. At the invitation of the Shanghai Municipal Education Committee, he took up the post of artistic director and chief conductor of the Shanghai Student Symphony Orchestra, which has since then performed in other countries and won international awards many a times.
With HNH International Ltd., Mr. CAO has recorded over 50 CDs for the ”Chinese Composers Series”, which is regarded as an outstanding achievement for the development of Chinese symphonic composition.
For the past few years, Mr. CAO has won many prestigious awards and honors. He is the recipient of the “Performing Arts Distinguished Contribution Award” given by the State Council of China, the “Excellent Member of the State Culture System” by the State Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Personnel, “Bao Steel Award for Fine Arts”, and various other awards from national and local agencies, for his achievements in the music circle. He was also the recipient of the “Excellent Member of the Shanghai Mass Culture” (2008 and 2010), “Shanghai Top-10 Award for Social Works by Seniors”, award for excellent members of retired cadres (both Shanghai and State-level), “Best Conductor for the Popularization of Classical Music of the 2008-09 Season” and the Committee Award for Conducting at the 7th CGRA (China Gold Record Award).
Long hailed as the “champion of popularization of symphonic music”, Mr. CAO has contributed tremendously to the development and popularization of music education, and fostered numerous music lovers. What’s more, it was he who founded the Shanghai Peng CAO Music Center and the Shanghai City Symphony Orchestra, the latter of which was the first non-professional symphony orchestra in mainland China. His biography has been included in Who’s Who in the World, The American Biographies for Celebrities, and publications of the International Biography Center at Cambridge.
As a knowledgeable gentleman and a veteran conductor, Mr. CAO excelled at rendering the elaborate details of the music while maintaining a firm grip on the overall momentum. One cannot fail to empathize deeply with him on his reflections on life in his art of conducting.