Wu Wei is an avant-garde sheng soloist who has helped to develop this four thousand year old instrument into an innovative force in contemporary music, through the creation of new techniques, expanding the repertoire and integrating different styles and genres. Born in P.R. China, Wu Wei studied the sheng at the Shanghai Conservatory and was a soloist with the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra before studying at the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin, where he is now based.
In addition to recognition from many prestigious national and international competitions for traditional Chinese music, Wu Wei won the Musica Vitale Competition, Germany, in 1996 and 2002, and the Global Root world music prize in 2004. In 2011 he won the Herald Angels Award at Edinburgh International Festival for his performance of Unsuk Chin’s Concerto for Sheng, Šu, with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 1996 Wu Wei has appeared as a soloist with many leading orchestras and ensembles throughout the world. He has performed the world premieres of more than 150 works, including ten concertos for sheng and orchestra by composers including John Cage, Unsuk Chin, Toshio Hosokawa, Enjott Schneider, Joerg Widmann, Guus Janssen, Tan Dun, Chen Qigang, Guo Weijing and Huang Ruo.
Wu Wei is himself a prolific composer for sheng, and has received numerous composition commissions, including those from the Royaumont Foundation in 2004, Musica Viva Munich in 2005, the Hanse Culture Foundation in 2009, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation New York in 2010, and the Cultural Foundation of Sachsen in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2011.
Wu Wei makes his Cabrillo Festival debut in Huang Ruo’s concerto for orchestra and sheng, The Color Yellow, on Saturday, August 8th.