The Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra (PCYO) is the first and largest Chinese Youth Orchestra in Europe.
PCYO has adopted an experimental and somewhat audacious approach in its innovative music fusions with Folk Songs, Reggae, and Hip pop. They have collaborated with world acclaimed musicians as diverse as The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Jah Wobble, MC Jin and noted professional musicians from China and the USA. During the past 35 years the Orchestra has appeared on international stages and television on numerous occasions, such as the UK, China, Italy, Burma, Australia, the USA and Canada.
Their high profile performances include: Performed for Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Prince Philip at the International Festival For Business 2016 (Liverpool), The Shanghai World Expo (China, 2010); 3rd Wales International Harp Festival (Caernarfon, 2014); The National Youth Music Festival (Cardiff and London, 1988; Birmingham, 2012); and The School Proms at the Royal Albert Hall (London, 1988).
Musical director ZiLan Liao started learning to play the Guzheng at the age of three, when she lived in Guangzhou, Southern China. By the age of nine she was winning major prizes. At the age of 12, she won the prestigious National Youth Music Competition. When she left China for the UK, at the age of fifteen, her reputation as a virtuoso performer was already established. She made an immediate impact on her arrival in the UK by winning first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen in1985. She continued her music studies at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, specialising in Western Concert Harp as well as Guzheng.
She has collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Nigel Kennedy, Jah Wobble, Elinor Bennett and many other internationally known artists. Zi Lan has also appeared at most of the major UK concert venues, including the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and WOMAD Festivals and the Cardiff and Edinburgh World Harp Festivals. Between 1991 – 1997, she worked as a freelance performer and delivered solo recitals around the world.