Lily Li was raised in a family with music tradition in Harbin, a large city in northeast China. Her father was a composer as well as a cello player. Her parents were poor and they could not afford to buy her a cello. When she was seven years old, her father used a piece of board to make something which looked like the finger board of a cello. She practiced on that board for two years before she could obtain a used cello, and then was fortunate enough to get the best teacher in the province to teach her how to play. In 1982, she moved to Hunan Province and was accepted by the provincial performing school of Hunan. Three years later, she pursued further studies at Guangzhou Music Conservatory. After two years of music studies, Ms. Li was hired by Changsha Opera House. In 1990, after participating in the national opera competition, she went to Shenzhen and became the cello soloist and electronic bass player for Hua Xia Art Center. In 1996, Ms. Li came to the United States, where she has had numerous performances. She started to teach cello at Laney College in 2005. Ms. Li’s playing style is full of emotion and feelings; upon hearing it, listeners have asked her to teach them to begin playing on the spot.