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Wu Man

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Wu Man (Chinese: 吴蛮; pinyin: Wú Mán; born 1963 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China) is a Chinese and player and composer. She is an exponent of the Pudong School of pipa playing.

She studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where her instructors included Lin Shicheng, Kuang Yuzhong, Chen Zemin, and Liu Dehai. She became the first recipient of a master’s degree in pipa and won the first prize in the 1989 National Music Performance Competition.

Although educated in China, Wu came to the United States in 1990 at the age of 25. She lived in Boston for many years and now lives in San Diego, California with her husband and son.

Wu performs with Chinese traditional music groups but is also known for her interpretation of contemporary compositions, as well as her work in jazz and cross-cultural music. Many composers (including Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Tan Dun, Bright Sheng, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Gabriela Lena Frank, Bun-Ching Lam, and others) have composed new works for her.

Wu has performed and recorded with the Kronos Quartet, Henry Threadgill, and Yo-Yo Ma’s The Silk Road Ensemble. In 1999, she became the first Chinese musician to play at the White House. She played there, together with Yo-Yo Ma, in honor of Zhu Rongji, the prime minister of China. Also in 1999, Wu was chosen by Ma to receive the Glenn Gould Prize. The award consisted of a bronze statue of famous Canadian pianist Gould himself.

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