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Wu Man and Shanghai Quartet to Perform Oct.29

October 14, 2015

Concert Will Treat Audiences to an Evening in New and Ancient China

Wu Man & the Shanghai Quartet. Photo by Ben Doyle #12.jpgMiddlebury, VT—World-renowned pipa player Wu Man and the impeccable Shanghai Quartet will meld the sounds of China and Western string quartet in an unforgettable evening of grand music on October 29 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts.

The concert program, entitled "An Evening in New and Ancient China," will include a suite of traditional Chinese folk songs, solo pipa works, Beethoven’s Op. 95 “Quartetto Serioso.” The performance will also feature a new multimedia work by eminent Chinese composer Zhao Jiping and his son, Zhao Lin, including one of Jiping’s most famous cinematic scores: Raise the Red Lantern.

About Wu Man

WuMan-cred-StephenKahn.jpgRecognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Grammy Award-nominated musician Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator, and composer, giving her lute-like instrument—which has a history of over 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music.

Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man was accepted into the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing at age 13, where she was hailed as a nationally-recognized role model for young pipa players. She has achieved many firsts in the musical world: she was her Conservatory’s first recipient of a master’s degree in pipa; she was the first Chinese traditional musician to receive the United States Artist Fellowship in 2008; and the first artist from China to perform at the White House. She was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, the first time this prestigious award was bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument. She has made over 40 recordings, to critical acclaim.

About the Shanghai Quartet

ShanghaiSmiling.jpgWeigang Li, violin
Yi-Wen Jiang, violin
Honggang Li, viola
Nicholas Tzavaras, cello

Renowned for its passionate musicality, impressive technique, and multicultural innovations, the Shanghai Quartet has become one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles. The quartet’s elegant style melds the delicacy of Eastern music with the emotional breadth of Western repertoire, allowing it to traverse musical genres including traditional Chinese folk music, masterpieces of Western music, and cutting-edge contemporary works.

Formed at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1983, the Quartet has worked with the world’s most distinguished artists and regularly tours the major music centers of Europe, North America, and Asia. They have performed with the Tokyo, Juilliard, and Guarneri Quartets; cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell; pianists Menahem Pressler, Yuja Wang, Peter Serkin, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and the male vocal ensemble Chanticleer. They have an extensive discography of over 30 recordings. The Shanghai Quartet currently serves as Quartet-in-Residence at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, Ensemble-in-Residence with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and as visiting guest professors of the Shanghai Conservatory and the Central Conservatory in Beijing.


Two associated events will offer audiences opportunities to learn more about Chinese music and culture: First, the Mahaney Center for the Arts will host a screening of Wu Man’s documentary film “Discovering a Musical Heartland: Wu Man Returns to China” at 4:30 P.M. on Wednesday, October 28, in Room 125. A question-and-answer session with the artist will follow the screening.

Second, faculty from Middlebury College’s Greenberg-Starr Department of Chinese Language and Literature will offer a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 P.M. on Thursday, October 29 in the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Room 125. Associate Professor of Chinese Wei He Xu will talk about his experience living through the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1966–1976; and John D. Berninghausen Professor of Chinese Thomas Moran will discuss stories from the same decade in Chinese film.

The performance by Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet is funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies. Sponsored by the Performing Arts Series, with support from the Department of Chinese and the Committee on the Arts.

The concert by Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet will take place on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:30 P.M. in Robison Hall (Concert Hall) at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center is located on the campus of Middlebury College, at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street. Free parking is available curbside on Rt. 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. 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, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to


Top: Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet, photo Ben Doyle

Second from top: Pipa Player Wu Man, photo Stephen Kahn

Third from top: Shanghai Quartet

Associate Professor of Chinese Wei He Xu will talk about his experience living through the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1966–1976; and John D. Berninghausen Professor of Chinese Thomas Moran 

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax