In the world of the classical guitar, it is rare for a Chinese player to launch an international career but Xuefei Yang has since childhood been a pioneering spirit. She was the first guitarist in China to enter a music school and later to graduate from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing with a B.A degree; The first guitarist from her country to study in the UK; and the first guitarist ever to receive an international scholarship from the Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music for her postgraduate study at Royal Academy of Music.
Born in Beijing, she began playing the guitar at the age of seven and took formal tuition at ten from Chen Zhi. Soon after, she made her first public appearance at the First China International Guitar Festival, and immediately gained such acclaim that the Spanish Ambassador in China presented her with a concert guitar. During her school years, she played extensively in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Spain, Australia and gave concert tours in Taiwan, Japan and Portugal.
When she was 11 she won 2nd prize in the Beijing Senior Guitar competition being the only child competitor. She received the 'Silver Sail' award from the Mayor of Beijing as one of the 10 best students. When playing in Tokyo the following year, she was given a special award by the Guitar Alliance of Japan, and the celebrated Japanese luthier Masaru Kohno presented her with one of his concert guitars. The composer Rodrigo attended her debut concert in Madrid when she was 14. A few years later, John Williams left his own Smallman guitar to her after listening to her playing. She has also appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts in China and abroad.
Since 2000, she has been in England studying with Michael Lewin, John Mills, and Timothy Walker at the Royal Academy of Music. During this time, she has given recitals at many festivals in the UK, Germany, Finland, France, and Singapore, as well as performances at the Wigmore Hall, National Portrait Gallery, St. James Piccadilly, and Queen Elizabeth Hall, where she played Rodrigo's "Fantasia para un Gentilhombre" with the BBC Concert Orchestra. She has also invited to perform Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with RAM Symphony Orchestra at the Duke's Hall and performed at the Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group's New Year Concert series, in which she gave the world premiere of Timothy Salter's Equipoise. This was especially commissioned for her by the Park Lane Group. Recent plans have included concerts in England, Scotland, France, Finland, USA and Asia and a successful appearance on Radio 3 as part of the BBC Proms London Composer Portrait with Michael Berkeley.
Xuefei Yang has won many prizes in the major competitions. Prizes include second prizes in the Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition, San Fransisco International guitar competition and the Young Concert Artist International competition in the USA, the Darwin International competition in Australia. She also won first prize in the Ivor Mairants Award administered by the Worshipful Company of Musicians in the city of London. In 2002, she graduated with distinction, achieving a Recital Diploma, and was awarded the dipRAM. She won the Dorothy Grinstead Prize for a recital at Fairfield Hall, Croydon, and received the Principal's prize for exceptional all-round studentship, the highest performance award conferred by the Royal Academy of Music.
In the fall of 2003 she performed nearly 50 concerts for the "Night of the Proms" tour, appearing in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.