|Born|| January 2, 1963 |
|Genres||Chinese music, World music, Contemporary classical|
|Instruments||Pipa, ruan, zheng|
|Associated acts||Kronos Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble|
Wu Man (Chinese : 吴 蛮 ; pinyin :Wú Mán; b. Hangzhou, Zhejiang, January 2, 1963) is a Chinese pipa player and composer. Trained in Pudong-style pipa performance at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, she is known for playing in a broad range of musical styles and introducing the pipa and its Chinese heritage into Western genres. She has performed and recorded extensively with Kronos Quartet and Silk Road Ensemble, and has premiered works by Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, Zhao Jiping, and Zhou Long, among many others. She has recorded and appeared on over 40 albums, five of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards. In 2013, she was named Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America , becoming the first performer of a non-Western instrument to receive this award. She also received The United States Artist' Award in 2008.
Born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, Wu Man began taking pipa lessons at age 9. When universities opened their doors to new students in 1977 after the Cultural Revolution had ended, Wu Man traveled to Beijing to audition for the Central Conservatory of Music. At 13, she became the youngest student at the school, and her final audition was covered in national newspapers.While at the Conservatory, she studied Pudong-style pipa performance under Lin Shicheng, Kuang Yuzhong, Chen Zemin, and Liu Dehai. She was first exposed to non-Chinese music in 1979 when Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra performed in Beijing, and again in 1980 when she attended Isaac Stern’s master classes at the Conservatory. She received her Master's Degree (the first such degree conferred on a pipa player) in 1987.
Wu Man first performed in the United States as a member of the China Youth Arts Troupe in 1985. She moved to the U.S. five years later to pursue a career in pipa performance that would allow her repertoire to extend beyond traditional Chinese music.Upon arriving in Connecticut with her husband (who had begun working on his Ph.D. in chemistry at Yale University), she began working with ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet (see below), and gave premieres of works by Chinese and American composers. In 1997, she gave the premiere of Lou Harrison's Concerto for Pipa and String Orchestra with Dennis Russell Davies conducting the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Written specifically for Wu Man, the work has been recorded twice, the latter of which (with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Miguel Harth-Bedoya) was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra. In 1998, Wu Man was awarded a fellowship to study at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College. That same year, she became a founding member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project (see below).
In 2003, Wu Man began working with Philip Glass, performing in the premiere of his opera The Sound of a Voice at the American Repertory Theater.She is featured in the recording of a suite from this work, which was released in 2007 on Glass's private label, Orange Mountain Music. In 2004, Wu Man was approached by Glass once again to collaborate on a commission from the Cultural Olympiad on the occasion of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Taking Orion as its title and inspiration (the constellation can be seen from both hemispheres throughout the year), the piece contains movements representing various countries around the world. The third movement, "China", was co-written by Glass and Wu Man, and features Wu Man on pipa. Additional collaborators include Ravi Shankar, Mark Atkins, Foday Musa Suso, Ashley MacIsaac, and Uakti. The work was premiered prior to the Games, and recorded and released on Orange Mountain Music in 2005.
In 2009, Wu Man curated a pair of concerts at Carnegie Hall as part of the Ancient Paths, Modern Voices Festival. The concerts focused on music from remote areas of China, including traditions of the Dong and Tujia peoples, as well as Taoist ritual.The process of finding these musicians was documented in the 2012 film Discovering a Musical Heartland: Wu Man's Return to China.
Wu Man's achievements in bringing the pipa to new audiences were recognized at the end of 2012 when Musical America selected her as the 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year. She is the first performer of a non-Western instrument to receive this award. –based chamber orchestra The Knights. Arranged for pipa and string orchestra by Lev Zhurbin and The Knights' Colin Jacobsen, the work is influenced by folk melodies that Wu Man heard travelling through China. That same season, Wu Man premiered Zhao Jiping’s Pipa Concerto No. 2 at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, who commissioned the work along with a consortium of North American orchestras.Later that season, Wu Man premiered her composition Blue and Green with New York
In 2014, Wu Man was named the first Musician-in-Residence at the Huntington Library. The residency included educational outreach programs, as well as a commission for a new composition. The piece, Three Sharing, was written by Wu Man for pipa, janggo, and shakuhachi, and was premiered on June 17, 2014 at the Huntington's Chinese Garden.
Wu Man first performed with the Kronos Quartet in the premiere of Zhou Long's Soul for pipa and string quartet at the Pittsburgh New Music Festival in 1992.The Quartet's founding violinist, David Harrington, says he "heard all sorts of possibilities in Wu Man's vivid pipa sound," and the Quartet subsequently commissioned Tan Dun to write a piece for the same instrumentation. The resulting Ghost Opera, a semi-staged work with minimal sets and lighting, received its premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1995. The work was later recorded and released on Nonesuch in 1997. On the occasion of Terry Riley's 70th birthday in 2005, the Quartet commissioned a new work from him that would include pipa. After working with Wu Man for over a year to learn the intricacies of the instrument, Riley composed The Cusp of Magic, a work in six movements that included Wu Man on pipa and vocals. All five musicians also play a variety of percussion instruments and toys. The premiere was presented by Cal Performances at Hertz Hall on the University of California, Berkeley campus, and was recorded and released on Nonesuch in 2008. Wu Man's most recent project with the Quartet is a multimedia work entitled A Chinese Home, co-conceived by Wu Man, Harrington, and Chinese theater director Chen Shi-Zheng. The work, which received its premiere at Carnegie's Zankel Hall in 2009, depicts a broad stretch of Chinese history, from the Qing dynasty through the Chinese Communist Revolution to present day.
Wu Man continues to perform regularly with Kronos, and was a featured guest artist in the Quartet's 40th Anniversary concerts in the 2013-14 season at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Cal Performances, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, and Carnegie Hall.She appears on five albums with the Quartet, including Early Music , in which she plays John Dowland's Lachrymæ Antiquæ on the ruan; You've Stolen My Heart , a collection of Bollywood songs by Rahul Dev Burman; and A Thousand Thoughts, the Quartet's 40th anniversary compilation album.
Wu Man is a founding member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, a non-profit organization established in 1998 to foster cross-cultural communication through musical performance and education.Two years after its inception, the Project hosted a workshop at the Tanglewood Music Center that evolved into the Silk Road Ensemble, an eclectic group of musicians representing countries along the Silk Road. Wu Man has performed regularly with the Ensemble since its inception in 2000, recording five albums and touring internationally.
In the 2006-07 season, the Silk Road Project partnered with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a yearlong celebration called Silk Road Chicago, culminating in the 2008 album release Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of Silk Road Chicago. Wu Man appears on this album as a soloist, performing Lou Harrison's Pipa Concerto with the CSO and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
Wu Man has also performed multiple times with Yo-Yo Ma outside of the Silk Road Ensemble. In 1999, Wu Man and Ma performed at the White House, premiering Bright Sheng's Three Songs for Pipa and Violoncello.That same year, Ma was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize and selected Wu Man as the Glenn Gould Protégé. They performed together again in 2003, premiering Sheng’s The Song and Dance of Tears alongside pianist Emanuel Ax, with David Zinman conducting the New York Philharmonic.
In 2005, Wu Man and composer Chen Yi co-wrote a multimedia work titled Ancient Dances, commissioned by the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Taking its inspiration from the poetry of Li Bai, the multimedia work features video art by Kathleen Owen that incorporates Chinese calligraphy and paintings by Wu Man's father. In performances of the work, Wu Man and percussionist Robert Schulz played in front of two vertical screens that displayed Owen's art. The project forms the first installment in what Wu Man refers to as her larger "Return to the East" project, which includes many of the projects discussed below, as well as her documentary Discovering a Musical Heartland.Later in 2005, she recorded the album Wu Man and Friends with Lee Knight (banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, mouth bow, vocals), Julian Kytasty (bandura, sopilka, vocals), and James Makubuya (endongo, adungu, vocals), which was released on the Traditional Crossroads label in 2006. The album contains the music of Chinese, Appalachian, Ukrainian, and Ugandan folk traditions, arranged to combine these plucked instruments from around the world. Since the album release, Wu Man, Knight, Kytasty, and Makubuya have performed their arrangements in concerts around the U.S., including Carnegie's Zankel Hall in 2006 and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in 2010.
In 2010, Wu Man traveled to Taiwan to study the music of Taiwanese aborigines, leading to a series of concerts in 2012 titled "Wu Man and Aboriginal Friends from Taiwan (吳蠻與原住民朋友)". In these concerts, Wu Man was joined onstage by musicians of the Paiwan, Atayal, and Bunun tribes, performing arrangements of traditional and ritual songs with pipa accompaniment. Performances took place at the Taiwan International Festival of Arts at the National Theater and Concert Hall, Taipei, and at the New Vision Arts Festival in Hong Kong.
With funds from the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia, Wu Man collaborated with Central Asian musicians to produce the CD/DVD Borderlands: Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route, released on Smithsonian Folkways in 2012. The album/documentary forms the tenth and final installment in the record label's Music of Central Asia series. The music focuses heavily on the Uyghur muqam tradition, a system of 12 modes that draws loosely from Arabic maqam. She is joined on the album by Abduvali Abdurashidov on sato; Sirojiddin Juraev on dutar; Hua'er vocalist Ma Ersa; Abdulla Majnun on diltar (his own invention, combining the plucked tanbur and bowed satar into a single double-necked instrument), dutar, tanbur, and vocals; Hesenjan Tursun on satar and vocals; Sanubar Tursun on dutar and vocals; and Yasin Yaqup on dap.
In 2013, Wu Man received an Individual Artist Fellowship from San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst Fund to pursue a project titled "When China Meets Latin America", collaborating with son jarocho quartet Son de San Diego. In their initial rehearsals, Wu Man and Son de San Diego explored the commonalities in Chinese and Latin American folk traditions, both of which, Son de San Diego's Eduardo Garcia Acosta notes, have "love songs, silvery dawns, birdsongs, broken hearts, tales of sailing, and the sheer joy of dancing."Following these rehearsals, the ad hoc quintet has performed arrangements of Chinese and Latin American folk music in workshops and concerts presented by the Carlsbad Music Festival.
Wu Man lives with her husband, Peng Wang, in Carlsbad, California, where they moved in 2004 after her husband accepted a job there.She and her husband became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2000, two years after the birth of their son Vincent.
Solo or as leader
with Kronos Quartet
with Silk Road Ensemble
with Philip Glass
with Bang on a Can
with Liu Sola
with Henry Threadgill
Appearances on anthologies & compilations
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wu Man .|
Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist. Born in Paris to Chinese parents and educated in New York City, Ma was a child prodigy, performing from the age of four and a half. He graduated from the Juilliard School and Harvard University, and has performed as a soloist with orchestras around the world. He has recorded more than 90 albums and received 18 Grammy Awards.
Evan Ziporyn is an American composer of post-minimalist music with a cross-cultural orientation, drawing equally from classical music, avant-garde, various world music traditions, and jazz. Ziporyn has composed for a wide range of ensembles, including symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, many types of chamber groups, and solo works, sometimes involving electronics. Balinese gamelan, for which he has composed numerous works, has compositions. He is known for his solo performances on clarinet and bass clarinet; additionally, Ziporyn plays gender wayang and other Balinese instruments, saxophones, piano & keyboards, EWI, and Shona mbira.
Tan Dun is a Chinese contemporary classical composer, pianist, viola d'amore player and conductor, most widely known for his scores for the movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero, as well as composing music for the medal ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His works often incorporate audiovisual elements; use instruments constructed from organic materials, such as paper, water, and stone; and are often inspired by traditional Chinese theatrical and ritual performance. In 2013, he was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. He has won numerous awards for his works, including an Academy Award, a Grammy Award and a BAFTA award.
Edgar Meyer is an American bassist and composer. His styles include classical, bluegrass, newgrass, and jazz. He has won five Grammy Awards and been nominated seven times.
Osvaldo Noé Golijov is an Argentine composer of classical music and music professor, known for his vocal and orchestral work.
Michael Gordon is an American composer and co-founder of the Bang on a Can music collective and festival. He is currently based in Southern California and is on the faculty of the University of Southern California.
Chen Yi is a Chinese-American violinist and composer of contemporary classical music. She was the first Chinese woman to receive a Master of Arts (M.A.) in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Chen was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition Si Ji, and has received awards from the Koussevistky Music Foundation and American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2010, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School and in 2012, she was awarded the Brock Commission from the American Choral Directors Association. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2019.
Silkroad, formerly the Silk Road Project, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization, initiated by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, promoting collaboration among artists and institutions, promoting multicultural artistic exchange, and studying the ebb and flow of ideas. The project was first inspired by the cultural traditions of the historical Eurasian Silk Road trade routes and now encompasses a number of artistic, cultural and educational programs focused on connecting people and ideas from around the world. It has been described as an "arts and educational organization that connects musicians, composers, artists and audiences around the world" and "an initiative to promote multicultural artistic collaboration."
Discography for the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Sérgio Assad is a Brazilian guitarist, composer, and arranger who often performs with his brother, Odair in the guitar duo Sérgio and Odair Assad, commonly referred to as the Assad Brothers or Duo Assad. Their younger sister Badi is also a guitarist. Assad is the father of composer/singer/pianist Clarice Assad. He is married to Angela Olinto.
Joel Fan is an American pianist and Steinway Artist "who has won praise for his technical expertise, lyrical playing, and outstanding interpretation". The New York Times has described Joel Fan as an "impressive pianist" with a "probing intellect and vivid imagination." "Fan has a flourishing international career as a performing and recording artist, notable for his fluency in the standard repertoire and contemporary works." Consistently acclaimed for his recitals and appearances with orchestras, Mr. Fan scored two consecutive Billboard Top 10 Debuts with his solo CDs World Keys and West of the Sun, while Dances for Piano and Orchestra earned a Grammy nomination.
David Krakauer is an American clarinetist who performs klezmer, jazz, classical music, and avant-garde improvisation.
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh is an Azerbaijani composer and pianist, currently living in Germany. She is best known for her works that combine the musical tradition of the Azerbaijani mugam and 20th century Western compositional techniques, especially those of Arnold Schoenberg and Gara Garayev. Her works have been performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn and the Kronos Quartet. On June 20, 2007, Ali-Zadeh was elected chair of the Composers' Union of Azerbaijan.
Gabriela Lena Frank is an American pianist and composer of contemporary classical music.
Fernando Otero is a Grammy-award-winning Argentine pianist, vocalist, and composer.
David Finckel is an American cellist and influential figure in the classical music world. The cellist for the Emerson String Quartet from 1979 to 2013, Finckel is currently the co-artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York, co-founder of the independent record label ArtistLed, co-artistic director and founder of Music@Menlo in Silicon Valley, co-artistic director of Chamber Music Today in Seoul, Korea, producer of Cello Talks, professor of cello at the Juilliard School, and visiting professor of music at Stony Brook University.
You've Stolen My Heart is a 2005 studio album from the Kronos Quartet, featuring arrangements of the music of Indian composer Rahul Dev Burman, with vocals by Asha Bhosle, who she sang the original versions of the album's songs and was married to Burman until his death in 1994. The album features keyboards, autoharp, and various percussion instruments in addition to the Kronos Quartet's core string quartet instruments. The recordings also feature Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain and Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man.
Zou Hang is a Chinese Composer born in Hunan province. He studied traditional music at an early age from his father, Professor Zou Shuliang. He began to study composition in 1990, and was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music, where he studied under the composer Ye Xiaogang. In 2001, he obtained his master's degree and became a faculty member of the conservatory.
Eric Jacobsen is an American conductor and cellist. He is currently a member of Brooklyn Rider, The Knights, and the Silk Road Project, and is the Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, and an artistic partner of the Northwest Sinfonietta.
Yang Jing is a composer and pipa soloist of Chinese origin. Between 1997 and 2009 she often toured in Japan. Since 2001, she has lived in Switzerland. Her composition premiere recording was Der Grosse Wagen (瀚空七星) by the First European Chinese Ensemble; A Traveller's Chant.