Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man is a soloist, educator and composer who gives her lute-like instrument a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Projects she has initiated have resulted in the pipa finding a place in new solo and quartet works, concertos, opera, chamber, electronic, and jazz music as well as in theater productions, film, dance and collaborations with visual artists including calligraphers and painters. She has performed in recital and as soloist with major orchestras around the world, and is a frequent collaborator with the Kronos and Shanghai Quartets and The Knights. A founding member of the Silk Road Ensemble, she is featured as both a performer and composer in the group’s 2017 Grammy Award-winning recording, Sing Me Home (“Best World Music Album”), and has appeared in over 40 recordings throughout her career. She is also a featured artist in the 2015 documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.
Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a master's degree in pipa. She moved to the U.S. in 1990 and currently resides in California. Wu Man was awarded the Bunting Fellowship at Harvard University in 1998, was the first Chinese traditional musician to receive a United States Artist Fellowship in 2008, and the first artist from China to perform at the White House. In 2013, she was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year. For more information about Wu Man, visit wumanpipa.org.
You can see Wu Man in action at New Zealand Premier Series - Reimagined on Thursday 8 August.