November 6, 2012
Wu Man Announced as Instrumentalist of the Year by Musical America

November 6, 2012 – Pipa virtuoso, Chinese traditional music ambassador, and Grammy Award-nominated musician, Wu Man, was today announced as the recipient of Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award. Since moving to the United States from China close to twenty years ago, Wu Man has created a new life for her instrument, which has a history of over 2,000 years in China. In the United States and throughout the world she has been a passionate educator, both illuminating and preserving the ancient musical traditions of her native home.

 Musical America will hold a ceremony for all award winners at Lincoln Center’s Kaplan Penthouse on Thursday, December 6 from 5:00-7:00 pm. Other winners include Gustavo Dudamel (Musician of the Year), David Lang (Composer of the Year), Joyce DiDonato (Vocalist of the Year), and Jose Antonio Abreu (Educator of the Year).

Wu Man said about winning the award, “I feel very honored to receive this award. This country has given me great opportunities to express myself and to be creative as a musician, and to share and celebrate my native culture with so many people. I am honored to be recognized by Musical America along with many other excellent musical colleagues.”

Through numerous trips to her native China, 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. She has spearheaded numerous projects under the umbrella concept, “Return to the East,” including her acclaimed CD/DVD ‘Borderlands’ released in early 2012 as the final installment of the acclaimed ten-volume “Music of Central Asia” ethnographic series produced by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Culture Heritage. Her most recent project was her ethnographic documentary DVD “Discovering a Musical Heartland: Wu Man’s Return to China,” which was released in September 2012.

Wu Man will perform in an intimate concert as part of the Global Salon Series at New York City’s Symphony Space on December 7, 2012. The performance will include selections for solo pipa as well as a discussion about her latest documentary DVD, in which she travels to remote regions of China to expose often overlooked ancient musical traditions.

One of the most recognized faces of the Silk Road Ensemble, Wu Man continually tours with the ensemble and renowned cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. She has performed as a soloist with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and has recorded numerous albums for various labels. She often performs with the Kronos Quartet and is a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music by today’s most prominent composers such as Tan Dun, Philip Glass, the late Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, Bright Sheng, Chen Yi and many others.

The 2012-13 season has Wu Man touring with the Silk Road Ensemble and separately as a soloist across the United States. She will perform Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto with the Arkansas Symphony and participate in a U.S. tour with New York City’s The Knights, with whom she will premiere her own composition Blue and Green. Wu Man tours to Hong Kong to perform a program titled “Wu Man and Aboriginal Friends from Taiwan,” another installment of her Return to the East project. Wu Man will also perform at the 2013 Auckland Arts Festival in New Zealand both in a solo recital and together with the Kronos Quartet in a performance of “A Chinese Home.”


For more information, or to request an interview with Wu Man, please contact Leah Rankin at Shuman Associates: (212) 315-1300 or

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