Paul spoke with Wu Man in the lead up to her visit to Adelaide for the upcoming Earth Station festival in October.
Man talked about her instrument the pipa, and about what Adelaide audiences can expect when she performs both solo and with headliners the Kronos Quartet.
Renowned internationally as a virtuosic pipa performer, US-based, Chinese-born musician Wu Man has carved out a career creating and collaborating on projects that give this ancient Chinese instrument a new role in today’s music world, not only introducing the instrument to new audiences, but growing the core repertoire. Her adventurous musical spirit has also led to her becoming a respected expert on the history and preservation of Chinese musical traditions, reflected in her recorded and live performances and multi-cultural collaborations.
Cited by the Los Angeles Times as “the artist most responsible for bringing the pipa to the Western World”, Wu Man continually collaborates with some of the most distinguished musicians and conductors performing today. She is a principal member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and performs internationally as part of the project’s ensemble. Wu Man also often frequently performs and records with the groundbreaking Kronos Quartet, their most recent project being the multi-media work, A Chinese Home.
Wu Man has performed as soloist with many of the world’s major orchestras and her touring has taken her to the major music halls. A Grammy-nominated artist, in September 2010 Wu Man released a new solo recording, Immeasurable Light, on Traditional Crossroads that combines reconstructed ancient pipa melodies with her own contemporary compositions.
Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man studied with Lin Shicheng, Kuang Yuzhong, Chen Zemin, and Liu Dehai at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a master's degree in pipa. When in China, Wu Man received first prize in the 1st National Music Performance Competition among other awards. She also participated in many groundbreaking premieres of works by a new generation of Chinese composers. Wu Man currently lives in Carlsbad, CA, and she formerly lived in Boston for 12 years, where she was selected as a Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard University. Wu Man was selected by Yo-Yo Ma as the winner of the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize in music and communication. She is also the first artist from China to have performed at the White House. For more information on Wu Man, please visit www.wumanpipa.org.