Pipa Virtuoso Wu Man Performs Two U.S. Premiere Concertos At Carnegie Hall With Taipei Chinese Orchestra, 11/6
Pipa virtuoso Wu Man takes the stage at Carnegie Hall to give the U.S. premieres of two concertos scored for traditional Chinese instruments, performing with the Taipei Chinese Orchestra (TCO) on Tuesday, November 6 at 8:00 p.m.
She joins this large ensemble of traditional Chinese strings, winds, and percussion to perform Qu Wenjun's pipa concerto Soul of the Loess (1994) and Cheng Kuang-Chih's double concerto for erhu and pipa Yao Ji (2016), in which she appears alongside TCO Concertmaster Wang Ming-Yu. The concert marks the Orchestra's Carnegie Hall debut and includes two additional U.S. premieres of works by Chinese composers, TCO General Director Cheng Li-Pin conducting. With this concert and a return to New York in March 2019 when she joins Yo-Yo Ma and the New York Philharmonic for the U.S. premiere of Zhao Lin's Concerto for Pipa and Cello ("A Happy Excursion"), Wu Man shines a spotlight on Chinese composers.
Tickets to next month's concert, priced $15 to $80, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.
As a champion of contemporary music for the pipa, Wu Man has performed the instrument's limited concerto repertoire across the U.S. with numerous symphony orchestras, including the Boston and Chicago symphonies and Los Angeles and New York philharmonics. Opportunities to perform in the U.S. with a traditional Chinese orchestra are much less common, and Wu Man's last such performance, in 2011, was also with the TCO. While new commissions for pipa and symphony orchestra are key to her mission of bridging Eastern and Western musical traditions, Wu Man's upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall reflects her commitment to serving as an ambassador for China's vibrant cultural heritage, exploring through the Western concerto form the rich sound world of Chinese traditional music.
In performance with the TCO, Wu Man's pipa blends with the plucked-string section, which includes the pipa as its largest instrumental group. The rest of the Orchestra comprises bowed strings, including two groups of erhus; winds, such as the soprano, alto, and bass shengs; and percussion. Like Wu Man, the composer of the pipa concerto, Qu Wenjun, is a pipa player and composer, and he was the soloist in the concerto's world premiere.
Additional U.S. performances by Wu Man this season include works written for her that have become staples of the pipa repertoire: Lou Harrison's Pipa Concerto, which she performs with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia; Zhao Jiping's Pipa Concerto No. 2, with the Fresno Philharmonic; and Tan Dun's Concerto for Pipa and String Orchestra, which is based on the composer's Ghost Opera written for Wu Man and Kronos Quartet, with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.
Wu Man is the world's premier pipa virtuoso. As a soloist, educator, and composer, she has given her lute-like instrument-which has a history of over 2,000 years in China-a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. She 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. Her collaborations with musicians from wide-ranging artistic disciplines allow her to reach diverse audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders. For more information, visit wumanpipa.org.