Wu Man

Wu Man is a principal musician with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble and has also recorded music for the soundtrack of the DreamWorks Animation film, “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

February 20, 2018
Writer: Don Sparhawk

REXBURG- Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band will perform in the Kirkham Auditorium at Brigham Young University-Idaho on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Center Stage Performing Arts Series.

Wu Man is a principal musician with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble and has also recorded music for the soundtrack of the DreamWorks Animation film, "Kung Fu Panda 3."  

The Huayin Shadow Puppet Band uses the yueqin, banhu, erhu, lute, fiddle and a variety of percussion instruments (including clappers, gongs, cymbals and a wood bench) to tell lively stories of rural life in remote China and draw the audience into places and sounds rarely heard in the West.  

Recognized as the world's premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer giving her lute-like instrument - which has a history of over 2,000 years in China - a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. 

Through numerous concert tours 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. Her adventurous spirit and virtuosity have led to collaborations across artistic disciplines allowing Wu Man to reach wider audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders. 

Wu Man's efforts were recognized when she was named Musical America's 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, marking the first time this prestigious award has been bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument. She is also the first artist from China to perform at the White House. 

In 2015, Wu Man was appointed visiting professor of three major Chinese conservatories: the Shanghai Conservatory, her alma mater the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and the Zhejiang Conservatory in her hometown. 

As a principal musician in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, Wu Man has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia with the Silk Road Ensemble. 

Adamant that the pipa does not become marginalized as only appropriate for Chinese music, Wu Man strives to develop a place for the pipa in all art forms. 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.  

Tickets for the performance are $12 for the general public and $6 for BYU-Idaho students. They are available online at tickets.byui.edu or on school days from the University Store Ticket Office at 208-496-3170.