Born in Suzhou into a musical family, Huang exhibited great musical talent from a young age. His father, a strict man, taught him organ and violin, and Huang taught himself a variety of Chinese and Western instruments, including piano, harmonica, erhu, yangqin, jinghu, yueqin and even Beijing and Kun Opera
He moved to Shanghai in the mid-1930s, where he joined in orchestral recordings for the Pathé label. In 1938, he joined the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and after the founding of the People's Republic of China, became the head of the orchestra in 1953. During his three decades of leadership at the orchestra, he recorded a number of film-scores, and accepted invitations to conduct symphonies in Finland (1956), the USSR (1958) and, at the invitation of Herbert Von Karajan in 1981 Berlin.
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