Young Musical Pioneer Made Many Firsts in her Native China, Now Enjoys International Career
Middlebury, VT—Classical guitarist Xuefei Yang returns to Middlebury College’s Performing Arts Series on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 to perform a beautiful concert of works by Bach, Regondi, Brouwer, Chopin, and Albéniz. Ever since her enchanting Valentine’s Day recital in 2008, Series patrons have asked when Ms. Yang would return to Middlebury. Audiences will surely feel the three-year wait was worthwhile. Originally from Beijing, and now based in the UK, Yang is regarded as one of the world’s finest classical guitarists.
The concert program at Middlebury will include Spanish pianist and composer Isaac Albéniz’s Asturias, from Suite Española Op. 47; Italian composer Giulio Regondi’s Air Varié de l’Opera de Bellini, I Capuleti e i Montecchi; and Cuban composer, conductor, and guitarist Leo Brouwer’s guitar sonata. Yang will also perform several compositions she has arranged herself: J. S. Bach’s Violin Sonata BWV 1001, Albeniz’s España, Seis Hojas de Album Op. 165; and Frédéric Chopin’s Two Valses.
Performer Xuefei Yang was born following China’s Cultural Revolution, an era where Western music and instruments were banned, and her rise to the world stage reflects her status as a musical pioneer. She was the first guitarist in China to enter a music school, and became the first to launch an international professional career. Her first public appearance at the age of ten, at the China International Guitar Festival, received such acclaim that the Spanish Ambassador in China immediately presented her with a concert guitar. The composer Rodrigo attended her debut concert in Madrid when she was fourteen. In 1995, when John Williams came to Beijing, he was so impressed with her playing that he gave two of his own Smallman guitars to the Beijing’s Central Conservatoire especially for Yang and other advanced students. She then went on to become the first Chinese student to be awarded a full postgraduate scholarship to study at London’s Royal Academy of Music.
Today Yang enjoys a truly international career, performing worldwide as a soloist, as a chamber musician, and with leading orchestras. She has performed in such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London, the Philharmonie Berlin, Musikhalle Hamburg, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Vienna, Auditorio Nacional de Espana, New York’s Lincoln Center, and the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. In Asia, she has appeared at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Hong Kong City Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Esplanade Singapore, and Seoul Arts Centre, and she gave the first guitar recital in Beijing National Center of Performing Arts.
Critical acclaim for Yang has been overwhelming. “The guitar world has a new star,” proclaimed Gramophone magazine in July 2008. She was selected for the 100 Best Artists list in Classic FM magazine in July 2009. The New York Times proclaimed, “Ms. Yang demonstrates her feisty virtuosity, impeccable technique and sensitive musicianship in repertory ranging from Albeniz to arrangements of Western pop and Asian songs...Yang’s guitar sings as if she had grown up in the shaded courtyards of Andalusia.”
The concert by Xuefei Yang will take place on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts, in the Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.
Top photo credit: Paul Mitchell