A b o u t   U s

Emily Zhao founded the Sound of Wishes Ensemble (SoWE) in 2017. This group, currently 7 members strong, aims to both promote cultural diversity within the community as well as support programs that help kids in need.

SoWE performs throughout the Chicagoland area. Through playing, we hope to cultivate a better understanding of Chinese culture and music. It is our goal that more people will be able to play and enjoy the gorgeous Chinese zither, so we offer free lessons to anyone who is interested. These lessons provide students with the opportunity to learn the instrument, interpret Eastern sheet music, and understand the cultural background behind different compositions.

SoWE is a non-profit organization. We have various ongoing projects that follow through with our goals to help kids in need as well as spread cultural awareness in the community. SoWE also partners with different organizations throughout the year, one of the most important is  Make-A-Wish Illinois . It is one of our biggest joys to help grant the wishes of children suffering from critical illnesses.

All donations to the Sound of Wishes Ensemble via lessons, performances, or other means will be directly put to use to support SoWE's various fundraising projects!

For performance, Guzheng lessons, or inquiries, please email us, soundofwishes@gmail.com!

M e m b e r s  


Founder and Director


    Emily is currently a rising senior in high school. She has been playing guzheng for 8 years and has competed at multiple competitions in the Chicago area and  was the first place winner in the Chinese instrument division at the 34th Music Festival in honor of Confucius. Emily enjoys performing on live stages, and also plays piano and flute, both for over 7 years. At school, she is involved in many science extracurricular activites as well, where she enjoys studying biology.


Ensemble Member


Angela is currently going into eighth grade at CPS. She was the second-place winner in the Chinese instrument division at the 34th Music Festival in Honor of Confucius and has been learning guzheng for about seven years. She has played at numerous performances, including the DePaul University 2020 Chinese Lunar New Year Gala, the Global Arts Festival, nursing homes, and charity concerts. Apart from being a member of SoWE, Angela is also a member of the Chicago Children’s Choir and a Tzu Shao volunteer for the Tzu Chi Foundation. She also does Chinese dance, plays volleyball and badminton. 


Website Management


        Eli Xu is a junior at Walter Payton College Prep. He is a member of the Boys Track Team and Math Team. He is also a Tzu Shao volunteer for Tzu Chi Foundation, which is an international humanitarian organization whose mission is to relieve the suffering of those in need and create a better world. Eli learned the Chinese Zither, also known as the guzheng, when he was six years old. He performs at Ray Graham, a home for adults with disabilities, as a member of Tzu Shao. He is part of Sounds of Wishes Ensemble’s tech crew, in charge of filming and editing video performances, as well as other publicity responsibilities.


Ensemble Member


Sophia is currently a 9th grader. She has been learning the guzheng for 6 years and is a member of Sound of Wishes Ensemble. She has preformed at various events such as the Chinese Fine Arts Society, Chinese New Year Celebration of the Garfield Park and local libraries. She was the 2nd place winner of the Chinese Instrument Division during the Music Festival in Honor of Confucius at Chicago. She also plays the piano, draws, dances, and teaches English to children with limited opportunities.


Ensemble Member


Maxwell is currently a freshman at Naperville Central High School and has played violin for six years with 3 years at the Suzuki Music School in Naperville. He has played in numerous performances at school orchestras and the ILMEA Music Conference. In addition, he performed for various charities like Kids-Against-Hunger at the Spring Road Gazebo, and at several community nursing homes. Along with violin, Maxwell also loves to rock climb at Vertical Endeavors.


Media Management


        Daniel is currently a freshman in high school. He has been playing piano for 7 years. He has passed Level 7 of the ISMTA Achievement in Music Examination. He is a Tzu Shao volunteer of Tzu Chi Foundation, which is an international humanitarian organization whose mission is to relieve the suffering of those in need and create a better world. Some of Daniel’s hobbies are sports and filmmaking. He has been playing soccer for 10 years. Daniel also likes art and film. He won first place of the Animal Expressions Young Art Contest in 2012. Daniel has been learning Chinese painting for 5 years. His paintings have won the first and third place awards of the Taiwan Benevolent Association of Chicago. He has also participated in filmmaking programs at the Beverly Arts Center.

© 2020 by Emily Zhao

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