Music Across the Ages, in the Hands of a Virtuosa
Wu Man — whose two recent Grammy Award nominations follow her appointment as a 2008 United States Artists Broad Fellow — is passionate about familiarizing audiences with the pipa in all art forms, including solo and chamber works, concertos, jazz, theater, film and dance.
“My parents were music lovers but, in the ’70s, it was quite difficult for most Chinese households to acquire Western instruments,” she said, recalling her education in China before she moved to the U.S. in 1990 at age 25. “So most families picked up traditional instruments. When I was 9 years old, my parents selected the pipa for me.
“At first, like any kid, I thought it was very difficult to play, requiring so much practice and concentration. But gradually I fell in love with it, sometimes practicing up to eight hours a day when I was a teenager.”
Wu Man became the first recipient of a master’s degree in pipa at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and won first prize in China’s 1989 National Music Performance Competition. She is also a senior member of the Silk Road Ensemble founded by Yo-Yo Ma.
Listen to Wu Man’s music here.
Watch an interview with Wu Man about the Silk Road Project:
And her performance: