Li Chi is a highly accomplished performing artist on the erhu, the Chinese two-string bowed fiddle. After graduating from the Conservatory of Chinese Music in 1982, she served as the erhu soloist for the National Traditional Orchestra of China. In the 1980s, she frequently performed in presidential concerts in Beijing. In the United States she has been featured in concerts held at Madison Square Garden, the Lincoln Center, the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, among others. She is co-founder of the China Traditional Performing Arts Institute, advisor to the Los Angeles Chinese Music Ensemble, and director of the San Fernando Valley Chinese Music Ensemble. Li has been a faculty member in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology since 1998.
At UCLA Li teaches group lessons in all the major Chinese instruments, the most popular of which are the erhu (2-string fiddle), zheng (bridged zither), dizi (flute), yangquin (hammered dulcimer), pipa (4-stringed plucked lute) and ruan (4-stringed plucked lute with a round body). Professor Li occasionally teaches less popular instruments such as the sanxian (3-stringed plucked lute) and qin (7-stringed bridgeless zither) to a small number of interested students.
Li Chi was one of three individuals selected for the 2008 UCLA Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for non-Senate faculty. This award is intended to increase awareness of UCLA's leadership in teaching by honoring "individuals who bring respect and admiration to the scholarship of teaching."