Zhang Nian-bing was born in Chongqing in 1942 and in 1953 was admitted to the musical school attached to the Shanghai Conservatory. She later specialised in performance on the sanxian, continuing her studies at the conservatory, after winning early distinction, her teachers including Li Yi, Wang Xiu-qin and Jin Xian-bai. Alter graduation she joined the teaching staff of the Conservatory, where she is now an assistant professor. Zhang Nian-bing is a member of the China Musicians’ Association and China Natioal Instruments Association and appeared in the 1963 Shanghai Spring Festival as a sanxian soloist. In the following year she won acclaim for her performance of the first concerto ever written for the sanxian. She has undertaken concert tours to Yugoslavia, Japan and United States of America, and has served as an adjudicator and recitalist in Singapore. In China she is well-known as a teacher, performer and composer for the sanxian.