TIAN-EN YU was born in Shanghai where she entered the Music Conservatory at the age of twelve. Her studies were interrupted by the Cultural Revolution but she continued her study of classical piano in secret with her teacher Benjamin Yu throughout her enforced re-education in the countryside and factories and even following her engagement in 1971 as pianist for the Shanghai Ballet Orchestra and later the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra. In July 1977 she was chosen to give the first classical piano recital in Liberation Theatre, Shanghai after the Cultural Revolution was pronounced officially ended. In 1986 she was awarded a full scholarship for study towards the Artist's Diploma by the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. She graduated in 1988, having distinguished herself there as a solo and chamber pianist, as a brilliant and sensitive performer and as a skilled and experienced teacher. Her main teachers were Benjamin Yu (Shanghai) and Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein (Oberlin). While at Oberlin she worked as pianist for the String Department and for the National Music Camp at Interlochen and gave concerts with Music from Oberlin chamber ensembles and as soloist in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago and other musical centers.
In 1989 she relocated to California, and has since given numerous solo, duo, chamber and concerto performances in the Bay Area, and has recorded for the local television program Grand Piano. In the end of March 2010 she had performed a piano recital as part of the celebrations to welcome the coming of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China.
Tian-en has taught piano since 1972, and was a faculty member at the Shanghai Philharmonic Affiliated Music School; her students there have continued their studies at the Curtis Institute, University of Toronto. She taught at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View from 1990 to 1995 and since 1993 has been a faculty member at Santa Clara University. She also teaches at her home in Fremont. Her students have been admitted to Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Harvard University, Stanford University and other noted Colleges. She is widely recognized as an outstanding performer and teacher.