Center For the Arts CFA

Connecticut debut by Wu Man with the Shanghai Quartet at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts on Friday April 1

Friday, March 25, 2016 - Friday, April 1, 2016

Connecticut debut by Wu Man with the Shanghai Quartet at Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts on Friday April 1

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts and Music Department present
Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet
Friday April 1 concert to feature Connecticut premiere of "Red Lantern"

Middletown, Conn.—The 41st annual Crowell Concert Series presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Music Department concludes with the Connecticut debut of the collaboration between Grammy Award-nominated pipa (Chinese lute) virtuosa Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet on Friday, April 1, 2016 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall located at 50 Wyllys Avenue on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. This concert also concludes the fifth annual Performing Arts Series.

The Shanghai Quartet, featuring violinists Weigang Li and Yi-Wen Jiang, violist Honggang Li, and cellist Nicholas Tzavaras, returns to Wesleyan to perform "A Night in Ancient and New China" with Wu Man. The program will feature the Connecticut premiere of the new quintet "Red Lantern" by eminent Chinese film composer Zhao Jiping ("Raise the Red Lantern," "To Live," and "Farewell My Concubine") in collaboration with his son Zhao Lin; as well as Concerto for String Quartet and Pipa by Tan Dun. The Shanghai Quartet will also perform Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet No. 11, Op. 95, "Serioso;" selections from "China Song," a suite of traditional Chinese folk songs arranged by their second violinist Yi-Wen Jiang reflecting on his childhood memories of the Cultural Revolution in China; and "Song of the Ch'in" by Zhou Long. The Shanghai Quartet were schoolmates with Wu Man at the Central Conservatory in Beijing.

There will be a pre-concert talk at 7:15pm by Associate Professor of Music, East Asian Studies, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Su Zheng.

Tickets for the concert are $22 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, and non-Wesleyan students; and $6 for Wesleyan students. Tickets are currently available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/boxoffice; and by phone at (860) 685-3355 or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University,” and all major credit cards. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges. Groups of ten or more may purchase discounted $15 tickets to this concert — please call (860) 685-3355 for details. Programs, artists and dates are subject to change without notice.

The Shanghai Quartet previously performed on the Crowell Concert Series in February 2010, when they performed Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in g minor, Op. 10; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s String Quartet in d minor, K. 421; and Krzysztof Penderecki’s String Quartet No. 3, "Leaves from an Unwritten Diary." The Penderecki work was premiered in Poland at a special 75th birthday concert in 2008 honoring the composer, followed by numerous performances worldwide. String Quartet No. 3 was also featured in Poland for the composer’s 80th birthday celebration in November 2013.

About Wu Man
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuosa 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," the first time this prestigious award has been bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument.

Having been brought up in the Pudong School of pipa playing, one of the most prestigious classical styles of Imperial China, Wu Man is now recognized as an outstanding exponent of the traditional repertoire as well as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music by today’s most prominent composers. She was awarded the Bunting Fellowship at Harvard University in 1998, and was the first Chinese traditional musician to receive the United States Artist Fellowship in 2008. She is also the first artist from China to perform at the White House.  Wu Man’s discography includes over 40 albums including the Grammy Award-nominated recordings "Our World in Song," "Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of the Silk Road Chicago," her recording of Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists, and "You’ve Stolen My Heart" featuring Wu Man and the Kronos Quartet.

During the current season, in addition to the North American tour with the Shanghai Quartet, Wu Man travels to Brussels and Geneva to collaborate with Uyghur singer Sanubar Tursun for performances presented by the Aga Khan Music Initiative, an interregional music and arts education program.  Wu Man continues her championing of Zhao Jiping's Pipa Concerto No. 2 with orchestras across the globe, as well as touring with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble.

Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man studied with Lin Shicheng, Kuang Yuzhong, Chen Zemin, and Liu Dehai at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a Master's degree in pipa. Accepted into the conservatory at age thirteen, Wu Man’s audition was covered by national newspapers and she was hailed as a child prodigy, becoming a nationally recognized role model for young pipa players. She subsequently received first prize in the First National Music Performance Competition among many other awards, and she participated in many premieres of works by a new generation of Chinese composers. Wu Man’s first exposure to western classical music came in 1979 when she saw Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing in Beijing.  In 1980, she participated in an open master class with violinist Isaac Stern, and in 1985, she made her first visit to the United States as a member of the China Youth Arts Troupe. Wu Man moved to the U.S. in 1990, and currently resides with her husband and son in California.

For more information on Wu Man, please visit http://www.wumanpipa.org.

About the Shanghai Quartet
Renowned for its passionate musicality, impressive technique and multicultural innovations, the Shanghai Quartet has become one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles.  Its elegant style melds the delicacy of Eastern music with the emotional breadth of Western repertoire, allowing it to traverse musical genres including traditional Chinese folk music, masterpieces of Western music, and cutting-edge contemporary works.

Formed at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1983, the Shanghai Quartet has worked with the world’s most distinguished artists and regularly tours the major music centers of Europe, North America, and Asia. Recent festival performances range from the international music festivals of Seoul and Beijing to the Festival Pablo Casals in France, Beethoven Festival in Poland, Yerevan Festival in Armenia, and Cartagena International Music Festival in Colombia, as well as numerous concerts in all regions of North America. The quartet has appeared at Carnegie Hall in chamber performances and with orchestra; in 2006 they gave the premiere of Takuma Itoh’s Concerto for Quartet and Orchestra in Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium. Among innumerable collaborations with noted artists, they have performed with the Tokyo, Juilliard, and Guarneri Quartets; cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell; pianists Menahem Pressler, Peter Serkin and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and the male vocal ensemble Chanticleer. The Shanghai Quartet regularly performs at many of North America’s leading music festivals, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamberfest Ottawa, and Maverick Concerts.

The Shanghai Quartet has a long history of championing new music and juxtaposing traditions of Eastern and Western music. In 2013, the La Jolla SummerFest commissioned a sextet for piano, string quartet and bass from David Del Tredici. The Tucson Winter Festival commissioned "Fantasie," a piano quintet by Australian composer Carl Vine; and Korean composer Jeajoon Ryu wrote a concerto for string quartet and symphony orchestra. 2008 featured premieres from the three continents that comprised the quartet's artistic and cultural worlds: Penderecki’s String Quartet No. 3, "Leaves From an Unwritten Diary;" Chen Yi’s "From the Path of Beauty" co-commissioned with Chanticleer; String Quartet No. 2 by Vivian Fung;  and jazz pianist Dick Hyman’s "String Quartet. " Other important commissions and premieres include works by Bright Sheng, Lowell Lieberman, Sebastian Currier, Marc Neikrug, Lei Liang, and Zhou Long.  Bright Sheng’s "Dance Capriccio"  premiered in spring 2012 with pianist Peter Serkin. Later that year, "Sweet Suite," a piano quintet by Stephen Prutsman, was premiered with the composer at the piano.  Dan Welcher’s "Museon Polemos" for double quartet premiered with the Miro Quartet at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Shanghai Quartet’s extensive discography of more than 30 recordings range from the Schumann and Dvořák piano quintets with Rudolf Buchbinder, to Zhou Long’s "Poems from Tang" for string quartet and orchestra with the Singapore Symphony.  Delos released the quartet’s most popular disc, "Chinasong," in 2003.  In 2009, Camerata released the Shanghai Quartet’s recording of the complete Beethoven String Quartets, a highly praised seven-disc project.

A diverse and interesting array of media projects include a cameo appearance playing Bartok’s String Quartet No. 4 in Woody Allen’s film “Melinda and Melinda,” to PBS television’s "Great Performances" series. Violinist Weigang Li performed in the documentary “From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China,” and the family of cellist Nicholas Tzavaras was the subject of the 1999 film “Music of the Heart,” starring Meryl Streep.  

The Shanghai Quartet is Quartet-in-Residence at the John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University in New Jersey, Ensemble-in-Residence with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Visiting Guest Professors of the Shanghai Conservatory and the Central Conservatory in Beijing. They are proudly sponsored by Thomastik-Infeld Strings.

For more information about the Shanghai Quartet, please visit http://shanghaiquartet.com/.
 
About the Crowell Concert Series
The Crowell Concert Series at the Center for the Arts features a wide array of world-class musicians. Past artists that have performed as part of the Crowell Concert Series include Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Amelia Piano Trio, American Brass Quintet, AnDa Union, Anonymous 4, Ahmad Jamal, Balfa Toujours, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Bill Frisell Trio, Boston Chamber Music Society, Brooklyn Rider, Bulgarian Bebop, Calefax Reed Quintet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Charles Lloyd Quartet, Cherish the Ladies, Claude Frank, Crooked Still, David Krakauer & Klezmer Madness, Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, Don Byron: "Jungle Music for Postmoderns," Donald Berman: "Celebrating Chopin’s 200th Birthday," Dünya, Eddie Palmieri, eighth blackbird, Eileen Ivers, Entrequatre, Ernest Dawkins, Eugenia Leon, Fernando Otero Quartet, FleytMuzik, FLUX Quartet, Henry Threadgill, Hugh Masekela, Ignacio Berroa Trio, Joshua Roman, Juice Vocal Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, Le Vent du Nord, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Lionel Loueke Trio, Lionheart, Margaret Leng Tan, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Maya Beiser and Anthony de Mare, Midori, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, "Music at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello," Near Eastern Music Ensemble, Nicholas Payton Trio , Omar Sosa, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Otis Taylor, Parthenia, Paul Brady, Pedro Carboné, Peter Serkin, Randy Weston, Regina Carter Quintet, Riffat Sultana and Party, St. Lawrence String Quartet, San Jose Taiko, sfSoundGroup, Shanghai Quartet, Stanley Cowell Quartet, The American Piano, The Assad Brothers, The Baltimore Consort, The Hilliard Ensemble, The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Drepung Loseling Monastery, The Nile Project, Thomas Mapfumo/Blacks Unlimited, Tiempo Libre, Tokyo String Quartet, Toumani Diabaté, Trio Globo, Turtle Island String Quartet with Stefon Harris, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko, Vieux Farka Touré, Vijay Iyer Trio, Voices of Afghanistan, and Zakir Hussain and L. Shankar.

About the Music Department
The Wesleyan University Music Department provides a unique and pioneering environment for advanced exploration committed to the study, performance, and composition of music from a perspective that recognizes and engages the breadth and diversity of the world's musics and technologies. As an integral part of one of the nation's leading liberal arts institutions, the department has enjoyed an international reputation for innovation and excellence, attracting students from around the globe since the inception of its visionary program in World Music four decades ago.

Recent annual music festivals in partnership with the Center for the Arts  have brought to campus a diverse array of artists, including Max Roach, Pete Seeger, Zakir Hussain (India), Thomas Mapfumo (Zimbabwe), Boukman Eksperyans (Haiti), Boogsie Sharpe (Trinidad), and Hugh Masekela (South Africa).

A recording studio, a computer and experimental music studio, the Center for the Arts media lab and digital video facility, the World Instrument Collection (which includes the David Tudor Collection of electronic musical instruments and instrumentation), and the Scores and Recordings Collection of Olin Library (which includes the World Music Archives) offer many learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

For more information about the Music Department, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/music/.

A World of Arts in the Heart of Connecticut