Zeng Chengwei

Zeng Chengwei

Zeng Chengwei
Traditional Chinese 曾成偉
Simplified Chinese 曾成伟
Zeng, playing qin in 2007 at a concert given at Royal Academy of Music in London during the Chinese Music Summer School. Joshua Wickerham, his translator during the performance, is also pictured.

Zeng Chengwei (曾成偉) is a Chinese musician of the guqin, born in the Sichuan province of China. He is a sixth-generation transmitter (counting from Zhang Kongshan) of the Shu school of qin music, having studied with his maternal grandfather, Yu Shaoze. Zeng is also a gifted maker of the instrument.


  • Style 1
  • Qin making 2
  • Recordings 3
  • References 4


Zeng's style is fluid and yet restrained, focusing on simplicity and roundness. His melodies are often meditative and removed. Very little ornamentation is used or used sparingly to add to the flavour of the pieces he plays. On the other hand, his rendition of Liu Shui is very vigorous and intensive, unlike modern renditions as he imitates the sound of full bodied water churning.

Qin making

Zeng has many years of experience as a qin maker. The instruments he makes are notable for their ease of playing and consistency. The strings are close to the surface yet there is no buzzing (this is caused mostly by strings vibrating against the surface). The slope towards the bridge is steeper than general qins and the instrument is louds. The tone is sweeter and more rounded.

His qins are mostly made in the standard zhongni (Confucian) shape and are unadorned. The main focus on his qins are playability and sound above appearance.

His patronage is Prof. Li Xiangting, who praised his qin making skills, comparing them to the Tang dynasty maker, Lei Wei. He is quoted in Zeng's CD (translated by Yip Mingmei): "[His qins] are of top quality, with antique form based on a high standard."


Zeng has one recording on an album published by HUGO; Shu (Sichuan) Qin Music (Vol.3). It contains most of his repertoire and includes pieces transmitted to him as well as his own transcriptions. In the sleeve notes, Yip Mingmei describes his playing as "smooth but not decorated, energetic but not forced, his touch is firm and the tone color emitted is full and bright. His harmonious and balanced playing inclines toward the Confucian ideal of the middle way. [...] His fingerings are clean and pure, and his rhythm clear and precise."


  • Zeng, Chengwei & Yip, Mingmei (1996). Shu (Sichuan) Qin Music (Vol.3): ZENG Chengwei. Hong Kong: HUGO Productions. HRP 7133-2