Born: May 12, 1977 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor/leader
Born and raised in Beijing, Wu Fei is a virtuoso composer, vocalist and guzheng (Chinese zither) performer. She spent her formative years at the China Conservatory of Music before coming to the US in 2000.
She holds a M.A. in Composition from Mills College and is a grant recipient of Meet the Composer. While at Mills, she began to diversify her sound and experiment widely, working with musicians like John Zorn, Fred Frith, Carla Kilhstedt, Béla Fleck, Pauline Oliveros, and Cecil Taylor.
Wu Fei's compositions for choir, string quartet, chamber ensemble, Balinese gamelan, orchestra, film, and modern dance exhibit her remarkable skill and profound musical understanding. Her commissions include a composition for Percussions Claviers de Lyon that premiered in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.
She has also appeared as a guest on Fred Frith's Eye to Ear II (2004, Tzadik) and The Happy End Problem (2006, ReR). Wu Fei has performed in cities around the world, including Beijing, Berlin, Rome, Venice, Milano, Dublin, Oslo, Rotterdam, New York and San Francisco.
Her debut album, A Distant Youth (2007, Forrest Hill), features both Frith and violinist Carla Kihlstedt. In fall 2008, her second album Yuan was released on Tzadik Records. In 2009, after performing in various prestigious music festivals in Norway, Netherlands, and Belgium, Wu Fei met with experimental jazz legend Evan Parker in New York City and presented a duo concert at The Stone. Later in that year, a DVD entitled Shan Qi was released (Ozella Music), filmed in the Italian Alps and highlighting the young artist and several outstanding European musicians, including Guo Yue, Giovanni Amighetti (producer), Guido Ponzini, and Helge A. Norbakken. Shan Qi is nominated for Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critique Award 2009).
In 2010, Wu Fei will be giving performances and lectures in the U.S., Europe, Oceania, Asia and Africa.
Awards:Composer Fellowship, the Sally & Don Lucas Artist Residency by Montalvo Arts Center, 2009
"Yuan" Best Album of The Week - Alarm Magazine 11/25/2008
Debut record "A Distant Youth" ranked #88 out of 913 on World Music Chart Europe (critics pick) 2008
Best World Music Artist (2008) - Westword
Fei's playing on the guzheng is breathtaking. -Fred Frith
My soul undergoes a meltdown when Wu Fei's delicate guzheng figures remind us of the frailty of purpose amidst the often overwhelming forces of life. - Paris Transatlantic Magazine
...Wu Fei, a Chinese guzheng player who shocked the sold- out crowd with her slashing, skittering mastery of the zitherlike instrument... -San Francisco Chronicle
Composer Wu Fei , as evidenced by the five compositions on Yuan, occupies a world that straddles traditional Chinese music and more contemporary styles of writing and playing. - All About Jazz New York
In Wu's work evinces respect for tradition, an interest in what instruments can do, a strong sense of architecture, and good old fashioned showmanship. -All Music
Tracks: 1. Lou Lan 2. Red Carriage 3.Yuan? Yuan! Yuan... 4. She Huo 5. Before I Wake
Personnel: Stephen Drury: Piano
Wu Fei: Prepared Guzheng, Guzheng, Voice
Chen Tao: Dizi (bamboo Flute)
Melody of China
Percussions Claviers de Lyon
Shayna Dunkelman: Marimba, Tom-toms, Gong
Pan E-Qing: Pipa
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