Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music and London’s Royal Academy of Music where he was the first student ever to be awarded 100% for his final recital. The recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition, following in the footsteps of violinists such as Kavakos, Kremer and Accardo.
Established at the highest level in China, Ning Feng performs regularly in his native country in recital, with their many local orchestras, and with major touring orchestras. Now based in Berlin and performing worldwide, Ning Feng has developed a reputation internationally as an artist of great lyricism and emotional transparency, displaying tremendous bravura and awe-inspiring technical accomplishment.
In recent seasons Ning has performed with orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer, Russian State Symphony/Vladimir Jurowski, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/Tang and in halls such as Sydney Opera House, Moscow’s Great Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and Beijing’s NCPA. In recital he has played in prestigious series and festival such as Vancouver Recital Series and Hong Kong International Chamber, Prague Spring, and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals.
In the 2013/14 season, Ning’s orchestral engagements include his debut with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra with Ivan Fischer, a return to the Hong Kong Philharmonic/van Zweden both in Hong Kong and Taipei, his debut with the Asturias Symphony Orchestra/Carneiro and concerts in China, Singapore, Taiwan and Macau with the Kaoshing Symphony and NCPA Orchestras. In recital, Ning Feng will perform in cities such as Hong Kong, Moscow, Boston and across China, and with Igor Levit and Sebastian Klinger he will perform piano trios across Germany, including at the Heidelberg, Ludwigsburg and Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festivals. Ning Feng is a member of the Dragon Quartet, founded in China in 2012. Other festival appearances include his return to the Menuhin Festival Gstaad and Kissinger Sommer Festival where he performs every year and where he will be an Artist-in-Residence in 2014.
Ning Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands. His most recent recording of the solo sonatas by Bartok, Prokofiev and Hindemith was released in August 2013. His previous disc, Solo, featuring works by Paganini, Kreisler, Berio, Schnittke and others, received a first-class review by Audiophile Audition: “You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot. This is a stunning recording of solo violin works by a variety of composers… and there are really few violinists who are able to pull it off. Ning Feng is one of those who can, not only for his sterling playing but also because of the rabid intelligence behind the selection of pieces here. None of these works is anything less than enthralling, and a few approach the incandescent. Milstein’s arrangement of the Paganiniana has never been bettered… this is an unqualified recommendation of a wonderful album that demonstrates the highest artistic and programming skills possible.” His recording of the Bruch Scottish Fantasy and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin will be released later in 2013.
Ning Feng plays a 1721 Stradivari violin, known as the ‘MacMillan’, on private loan, kindly arranged by Premiere Performances of Hong Kong.
Ning Feng is represented by Intermusica.
2013/14 season / 559 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin / Ivan Fischer / Bernstein Serenade
“The Chinese violinist Ning Feng surprised with a direct, highly virtuosic approach, and after two dazzlingly masterful encores, he was justifiably celebrated.”
Matthias Nöther, Berliner Morgenpost, November 2013
“In Bernstein’s Serenade, most notably, Ning Feng on solo violin produced a shimmering sea of colour.”
Christian Schmidt, Tagesspiegel, November 2013
SOLO 2 [Channel Classics]
“this is a CD of quite stunning violin playing. Every aspect of Ning Feng’s playing seems to be under extraordinary control. The even-ness of his tone production whether high, low, slow and sustained or precipitously fast is remarkably similar. Usually you can perceive a degree of technical strain in the way the tone hardens or some passage-work might fractionally blur - not here, every note and strand of music remains crystal clear.”
Nick Barnard, Music Web International, November 2013
Grünwald, Munich – Trio concert with Igor Levit and Sebastian Klinger / Shostakovich, Beethoven, Dvorák
“So often, the first piece in an evening of chamber music is used simply as a warm-up for what follows. But not at this concert in the August-Everding-Saal, where Igor Levit (piano), Ning Feng (violin) and Sebastian Klinger (cello), performed the 17-year-old Dmitri Shostakovich's opus 8. Every twist and turn of this one-movement, Janus-faced piece, every note, every phrase was filled with colour, intensity and energy. Now tenderly evocative, now surging aggressively forwards, the music was impetuous and full of youthful vigour. There was never a hint that the musicians in this trio were playing together for the first time.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 2013
“Here once again, the musicians showed an unerring feel for the unfolding suspense of the piece. Unlike so many other versions, this movement did not come across as the least bit ponderous. It was thrilling. The tension was almost too much for the Grünwald audience to bear. The musicians approached the changing moods of every movement (of Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’ Trio in D major, opus 70 no. 1) with a sense of phrasing and balance.”
Münchner Merkur, September 2013
Closing Night Gala – Hong Kong International Chamber Festival / Tchaikovsky String Sextet Souvenir de Florence Op.70
“… the performance of this proved to be thei highlight of the evening. The first movement was kept gorgeously light spirited. The romantic theme in the second movement showcased Ning’s mellifluous playing before taken up by Elschenbroich’s equally excellent playing. The third movement was performed deceptively reserved, which gave way to an unrestrained joyous celebration in the final movement, a most suited conclusion for an outstanding evening and festival.”
Satoshi Kyo, Time Out Hong Kong, January 2013
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra / Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
“Ning Feng's total mastery could be seen in the precision and sweep of his bow, and heard in the effortless tonal range, from sweet to sumptuous. Throughout, he gave every note its due weight in what, with other players, might have been mere passagework.”
William Dart, New Zealand Herald, October 2012
Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival / Recital with Thomas Hoppe
“Ning Feng and Thomas Hoppe gave a top rate recital at the Marstall in Ahrensburg. Their appearance as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival was undoubtedly one of the town’s cultural highlights of the year.
Waxman’s ‘Carmen Fantasie’ began conventionally, but then accelerated to a furious climax, in which violinist Feng demonstrated his unbelievable mastery of his instrument.”
Locale Wochenzeitungen, August 2012
Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival / Golijov, Piazzolla, Botessini & Vivaldi Four Seasons
“Ning and Zhang made light of the technical duels, the fine judgments of speed and the work's unsubtle construction to produce an authoritative display of a musical cappuccino.”
“Ning's unfailing ear for colour and detail of line proved exemplary in Winter.”Sam Olluver, South China Morning Post, January 2012
“the young Chinese violinist wowed the bravo-spouting audience with his effortless virtuosity, clarity and command… it was Ning that stole the show.”
Mark Tjhung, Time Out, January 2012
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (Minczuk) / Paganini Violin Concerto No.1
“…you soon realize Ning Feng's playing is what gives the music real interest. Pure technical display, but elegantly executed as the melodically attractive musical ideas unfold."
“The violinist pulled out all the stops with this concerto, demonstrating an astonishing dynamic range.”
Bob Clark, The Calgary Herald, December 2011
SOLO [Channel Classics]
“You will be blown away by the artistry of this album, and blown away in great sound to boot. This is a stunning recording of solo violin works by a variety of composers … and there are really few violinists who are able to pull it off. Ning Feng is one of those who can, not only for his sterling playing but also because of the rabid intelligence behind the selection of pieces here. None of these works is anything less than enthralling, and a few approach the incandescent. Milstein’s arrangement of the Paganiniana has never been bettered … this is an unqualified recommendation of a wonderful album that demonstrates the highest artistic and programming skills possible.”
Audiophile Audition, February 2011
Vector Wellington Orchestra (Taddei) / Elgar Violin Concerto
“The heart of the concert was Ning Feng's amazing performance of Elgar's… Concerto. He offered up playing of such idiomatic sureness, and fresh spontaneity, that I cannot recall another performance of the work as compelling. And what technical wizardry he has in his armory, and what a huge rich, sound he makes. He stands out, in my view, from almost all the myriad young violinists now on the world stage.”
John Button, Dominion Post, September 2010
Sichuan Conservatory Orchestra (Zhu Qi-Yuan) / Sibelius Violin Concerto
“Ning communicates with immediacy and produces an extraordinary range of dynamics… all in immaculate intonation and phrasing. A slew of bravos greeted his dainty encore, a transcription of Tarrega's memories of The Alhambra. Paganini lives again.”
Chang Tou Liang, The Straits Times, May 2010
Bremerhaven Orchestra (Graham Johnson) / Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
“A terrific performance … The fascinating effect he created was not just brilliant technical execution; what stood out was the tonal beauty Ning Feng retained, even in the boisterous fireworks runs, the double stops, and the frequent extreme high register playing.”
Dieter Strohmeyer, Nordsee-Zeitung, April 2009
Paganini Violin Concerto No.1
“Paganini's Violin Concerto No.1 can acquire a stature all of its own when its challenges are met head on. Chinese violinist Ning Feng did exactly that. An extraordinary powerhouse of a performer with an unforgettably dazzling technique, he made this tortuously difficult work look like a stroll in the park.”
Graham Strahle, The Australian, March 2009
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Letonja) / Dvorak Violin Concerto
“…a distinguished reading of a great violin concerto […]”
“Feng Ning, winner of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in 2005 and winner of the Paganini competition since then, is blessed with a fantastic technique and a luxuriously rich and flowing tone. His performance of the Dvorák Violin Concerto showed he is also a truly intuitive musician, playing Dvorák, particularly the unstoppable high spirits of the last movement, with the same panache with which he tackles Paganini.
Rod Biss, New Zealand Listener, September 2008
“Ning's greatest asset is the pliant lyricism that pours from his violin, and few violinists can rival his spinning of a lighter-than-air scherzando.”
William Dart, The New Zealand Herald, August 2008
Paganini: ‘Hello Mr Paganini', with Thomas Hoppe (piano) [Channel Classics]
“Ning Feng is featured on the Dutch Channel Classics’ new label devoted to the music and musicians of China, and reveals a player of stunning accomplishment. The Paganini pieces might be musically a bit insubstantial, but they are all designed to show off a master player, and Ning Feng stands out, even in an age full of dazzling young string players. His virtuosity is breathtaking but he also possesses a real sense for the poetic, and he makes a wonderfully pure sound as well. His accompanist Thomas Hoppe abets him, when needed, with real style and the recording, made in Eindhoven, is almost holgraphically realistic. Five stars.”
The Dominion Post, five stars, August 2008
“The music on this disc Hello Mr Paganini some of the most difficult ever written for violin, is not played easily, and even less played with conviction. Ning does both, and with a sort of insouciant arrogance that speaks not only of ability but of empathy with the composer as well. According to the notes, he wishes us to “sing along” and not simply be amazed by the wizardry that Paganini infused into this music, devilish or not. …I remain convinced that only a violinist who actually loves this music—aside from just being intimidated by it or finding it challenging—could put across the melodic emphasis with such grace and airiness without focusing so much on the difficulties of the formal technique involved.”
Audiophile Audition, February 2008
“It's no surprise to learn that Ning Feng was the winner of the 2006 International Paganini Competition in Genoa; he's able to bring the great virtuoso's most extreme flights of fancy to life with exceptional beauxty and precision. The left hand pizzicati are uncommonly clear, even and rhythmic, and the notorious double harmonics are not only pure in tuning and tone quality, but sensitively and expressively phrased, too. Performed with this degree of finesse, Paganini's music takes on a surreal quality - a dreamlike extension of more normal ranges of expression… It's an enthralling, exciting recital.”
Gramophone, February 2008
“Feng maintains exceptional purity of intonation, with the minimum of noices off. Above all, even in the forced-harmonic acrobatics and dancing left-hand pizzicatos he always sounds as though he is enjoying himself enormously. […] Ning Feng, struts his stuff in 8 dazzling showpieces. An impressive calling card.”
Classic FM Magazine