A Weekend with Wu Man

Five musicians

On November 3rd and 4th – sandwiched almost impossibly between one-off concerts in Carnegie Hall, Hangzhou, China, and dates in Australia and across Asia (on separate tours) with the Silk Road Ensemble and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band – Wu Man spent a weekend in residency at PCM.

Woman playing instrument with many strings

For those unfamiliar, Wu Man is the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music. She is also a founding member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, now in its 20th season, and a featured artist in the documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, as well as on the film’s 2017 Grammy Award-winning companion recording.

The residency unfolded in two parts. Saturday featured an open rehearsal during the day, and a concert in Barrett Hall in the evening with our friends from the Salastina Music Society. The concert included performances of traditional Chinese folk repertoire for the pipa, a movement from Four Chinese Paintings (a work composed by Wu Man for string quartet), and a lively improvisation for pipa and string quartet.

Musicians on stage

Sunday featured an open rehearsal followed by a standing room only concert in the auditorium with PCM guitar and jazz students performing Chinese and American folk songs for guitar orchestra and pipa, as well as a Korean folk song for jazz combo and pipa, and Duke Ellington’s Far East suite arranged for jazz orchestra and pipa. Both events were free and open to the public.

It was a thrilling and memorable weekend at the Conservatory. See below for highlights from Sunday’s concert and visit our youtube channel to see the entire performance and other videos of PCM students in action!