I am a great believer that people like Mr Li who dedicate their lives to children and the community for so long should have an opportunity on a world stage to be recognised for all to see.  When Mr Li stood at the end with his hands clenched over his head in triumphed the world stopped for a moment to honour this great man and his life’s work….

Phillip Southward – Director of Operations - Liverpool Pavilion @ World Expo 2010

I would like to thank you, Mr Li and the Liverpool Chinese Youth Orchestra for a wonderful performance at Tate at the weekend. The feedback that I got from audience members after the performance was really positive and I know that all of Tate's staff really enjoyed the orchestra's performance.

Alison Jones – Tate Gallery

Sound City would like to thank you and Mr. Li, the youth orchestra, dance/tai chi group and Guzheng ensemble for participating in the performances during May 2011 at Liverpool One. Through sunshine and rain you have all been extremely understanding and flexible. For all this we are very grateful and appreciative. All the performers’ have been a pleasure to work with, we loved all three groups and we would hope to have the opportunity to work with you all again in the future. Once again thank you for all your hard work and co-operation in making it a fantastic experience for us and all the visitors to Liverpool One.

Bianca & the Sound City Team

The Pagoda Orchestra was splendid, with an upbeat blend of traditional Chinese and Western tunes. The members, some so young they needed a box under their feet to reach the floor, by far out-played their age…..

Liverpool Daily Post . 3rd Oct, 2010 (CLASSICAL REVIEW: Liverpool Wondrous Place, Philharmonic Hall)

Liverpool's Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra - now in it's 27th year - then showcased beautiful talent from across the north west, it's young stars nervously accepting a standing ovation after an accomplished performance…

Liverpool Echo. 16th Oct 2010, Andy Campbell (Liverpool Day Concert at Shanghai Expo 2010)

“The whole thing is fantastic from start to finish but try the traditional ‘Dragon & Phoenix’ (performed by the Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra), complete with Eastern instrumentation and a big bass-line underneath, for a masterclass in not just melding two very diverse cultural and musical developments, but also somehow showing that despite the disparity, there’s way, way more in common than you might at first think.” ….

Joe Shooman – Record Collector, January 2009 358 issue (Jah Wobble & Chinese Dub Orchestra – Chinese Dub)

“The accent is definitively Chinese (there are excellent contributions from Liverpool’s Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra, with Wobble and his regular band restrained in their framing of the Eastern elements, a carefully honed appreciation of the roots of the mix inherent in every arrangement”….

Con Murphy – flygoblamusic.com December 2008 (Jah Wobble & Chinese Dub Orchestra – Chinese Dub)

“Chinese Dub couldn’t really be described as a sound clash: there’s an impressively sensitive approach to the blend of traditional arrangements and original compositions, though there’s also a tangible thrill in the way that tracks such as L1 Dub and Dragon and Phoenix (performed by the Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra), move between Far Eastern and Western influences….” 

Arwa Haider – Metro, 6th February 2009

...Have you ever heard a harp cry?  Those of us who had the pleasure of hearing Zi Lan performing on the Ku-Cheng, know how expressive it can be. ... Her playing of the song Tears of the the Emperor's Concubine, was a stunning display of the Ku-Cheng's potential to evoke such emotion.  ...Her powerful rendition of  The Typhoon demonstrated the tonal range the Ku-Cheng  is capable of producing and music which is agreeable to western ears.  ...Zi Lan has a rare talent of virtuoso standard and a charming disposition with a programme to match.  Music festival organisers, please note.

Mike March (review from Bournemouth Evening Echo March 1995)

... Charmed by an Oriental angel ...Zi Lan, considerable artist - exquisite interpreter of the dances of China through millennia and virtuoso of the ancient stringed instrument Ku-Cheng - has a face as alive as sunlight on water.  .. When she dances her expressions are enchanting, coy, grave, shy and knowing by turns. ... A revealing entertainment.

C V Roberts (review from Norwich Evening Standard Norwich festival  October 1993)

...The Ku-Cheng master player Zi Lan Liao, has captured hundreds of people with its magical sound.

Spanish Evening Paper (Tour  in Barcelona in1994 , October)

...Star of the show was the talented and chatty Zi Lan Liao, newly graduated from London's Royal Academy of Music, who give gave an amusing and `informative demonstration of both a Western and the Chinese Harp.

The Chronicle (Chester Festival August 1991)

...What a wonderful evening's enchanting music this was! It was one of the best nights out I have had for a long while...Zi Lan's great musicality, poise, and physical and spiritual unity with the instrument were particularly apparent in all she played... Our interest in all the Zi Lan had played and told us was obvious in our prolonged and warm applause, her playing and her personality were both charming and delightful.

Danielle Perrett (Review from the UKHA Performance 1990)

… Next was Zi Lan Liao, the twenty-four year old Ku-Cheng prodigy, on Stage 2. The Ku-Cheng is a 21 string harp which is played horizontally. Zi Lan helped our unsophisticated ears along with her gentle sense of humour and song explanations. As she explained, many of the pieces were centuries old, but she certainly played them with plenty of youthful passion. Atmospheric songs evoking events such as storms and hurricanes were particularly effective. Zi Lan closed her performance with a graceful ribbon dance which made the most of her striking crimson costume.

WOMADELAIDE '93: Adelaide throws its arms around the world  © David Lowe,  April 1993                                                 

...Perhaps you have to listen to China's Zi Lan Liao, playing the zither-like Chinese Cheng, its captivating ripples concealing deep passions. Some of this music was a humbling 2000 years old.

Paul Lloyd (Review from The Advertiser, Australia  WOMAD Festival, January 1992)

...it is invidious to single out one performance in a production which is quite rightly based on ensemble playing but the superb musicians, particularly Zi Lan Liao...must rate a special mention.

The Stage (From a review of 'The Caucasian Chalk Circle' presented at Sadler's Wells Theatre for the National Youth Music Theatre 1990.)

...The musicians give good value, although nothing in Stephen Warbeck's score equals the fascinating opening moments when Zi Lan Liao gives a swirling solo on her Cheng.  This exotic instrument can be described as a harp stretched into an oblong and laid flat on a board curved like an upturned miniature punt.  She sweeps her fingers over the strings as though repelling the surface of a cattle trough, and high clear notes come twinkling from it.

Jeremy Kingston (The Time on The Caucasian Chalk Circle' at Sadler's Wells Theatre 1990)

...Our students were absolutely captivated by Zi Lan's performance and sheer professionalism... we were indeed most privileged to be chosen to host such a memorable experience.

Stephen Meakins (Head of Expressive Arts Northampton Trinity School)

...You made a tremendous impression with your harp playing and your dancing... there have been endless discussions among the audiences and they all think you are two different people. So I have to reassure them there is only one Zi Lan Liao... Your playing was at a virtuous standard.

Stephen Rhys (Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music)

...I have seen her performance on the Chinese Harp and she always seem to mesmerise her audience.

Lila Pancholi (Northamptonshire County Schools Advisory Teacher)

...Thank you for bringing your wonderful performances to Garden Festival Wales.  Whether you were dancing or playing the Ku-Cheng, our visitors and staff were entranced by your expertise and grace. It has been enormous pleasure to be able to include your performances in our programme.

Kate Strudwick (Festival Music Events Officer)

...I was present at most of your performances, each one being a "breath of fresh air". You captured quite a fan club, who thought you were a wonderful artist.

Dores Evans (audience from Garden Festival Wales)

...Zi Lan's musicianship and personality charmed and delighted her audiences and at the end of each concert we were inundated by requests for a return visit.

Live Music Now! (Wales, 1991)