Behind the persona of every artist lies a human being, just like you and I. The Human Diaries series thus explores the multifaceted lives of our musicians, which gained popularity during Season 1 last year. Expect the unexpected in Season 2 as we step into the homes and favourite places of our musicians, conductors and Composer-in-Residence, discovering stories untold.



Famous Indian musician Hazrat Inayat Khan once said, “each human personality is like a piece of music, having an individual tone and a rhythm of its own”. For SCO Guzheng Associate Principal Xu Hui, her distinct personality can be seen on stage while performing, displaying both her elegant and passionate persona through two very different instruments.

Read on to find out more about how Xu Hui’s music journey and her involvement in teaching differently-abled students.

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Text: Oh Hui Yin

Photo: Singapore Chinese Orchestra

When the feminine meets the masculine

Frequent attendees of SCO concerts might have noticed that there is one Guzheng musician on stage who will suddenly change to playing the percussion during a concert. That, is Xu Hui.

Guzheng and percussion are two types of instruments which has very different characteristics, portraying vastly different personalities. One being elegant and fairy-like, while another being passionate and enthusiastic.

Sharing about these two instruments, Xu Hui describe “I really like how I can present the different sides of me through these two instruments”.

These two are her favourite instruments, with Guzheng being her favourite and percussion coming in second.

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(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

A different route

Unlike most of the other musicians in SCO, Xu Hui did not attend any affiliated music schools during her primary and secondary school days. She only attended music school when she was in university.

Coming from a family of teachers, since young, Xu Hui thought that she will follow her parents’ and grandparents’ footstep and become an educator or teacher.

However, her parents did not want to limit her career at a very young age, hence they let her take on a general path of education before she is mature enough to decide on her own specialisation.

Xu Hui shared, “every year, I would take the entrance exams for music conservatory affiliated primary and secondary schools. I passed the examination each year but never did I attend the school.”

She was baffled by this arrangement and felt that it was pointless. Her parents’ rationale? “Taking the examination was only for my to do self-evaluation of my ability. Don’t set the child’s path too early in their life.”

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(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

It was only until university, when she was mature enough to understand what she enjoys the most, that she decided to take on the path of music. “Since young, I felt that music is really an indispensable part of my life. The happiness I receive from music is slightly more than that of studying.”

Teaching differently-abled children

Even though Xu Hui did not join teaching as her main profession like her parents and grandparents, teaching is still part of her life as she routinely teaches special needs children Guzheng, and enjoys it a lot.

She describes “the most memorable experience was this concert which SCO jointly organised with Deutsche Bank. The community concert is titled Dream Beyond.”


(Screenshot from Human Diaries video)

While sharing about this experience, Xu Hui was choked with emotions and said “I held the students’ hands and brought them on stage, some of the kids have physical disabilities, hence they are unable to walk stably. When I watched them control their bodies and performed one by one, I teared up, it was a very touching moment.”

She hugged the kids after the concert ends and cried together with them.

Always striving for the better

Many of the musicians in SCO are well-recognised and reputable in this industry. As such, Xu Hui felt that she should not be complacent, work hard for every performance and continue to improve herself constantly.

If you have not caught Xu Hui’s episode on Human Diaries Season 2, click here!


Thank you for reading and following through the article thus far! Here are some special behind-the-scenes:

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Xu Hui and her talented daughter.

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