Middlebury

Internationally acclaimed classical guitarist Xuefei Yang to perform Feb. 14

January 31, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Classical guitarist and young virtuoso Xuefei Yang will perform at the Middlebury College Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. Her program will include selections from Bach, Tarrega, Goff, Paganini, Barrios and Brouwer.

Yang was the first guitarist in China to enter a music school and graduate from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing with a bachelor's degree, and the first guitarist from her country to study classical guitar in the west.

Born in Beijing, she began playing the guitar at age seven and soon after made her debut appearance at the First China International Guitar Festival. She gained immediate acclaim and, during her school years, she played extensively throughout China, Hong Kong, Macau, Spain and Australia and gave concert tours in Taiwan, Japan and Portugal.

When playing in Tokyo, she was given a special award by the Guitar Alliance of Japan, and Masaru Kohno, the celebrated Japanese master craftsman of stringed instruments, presented her with one of his concert guitars. The composer Rodrigo attended her debut concert in Madrid when she was fourteen and 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 conservatory for her and other top students to play.

Yang has lived in England since 2000 and studied with Michael Lewin, John Mills and Timothy Walker at the Royal Academy of Music. She won the Dorothy Grinstead Prize and received the Principal's Prize for exceptional all-round studentship. She was also awarded the highest performance award conferred by the Royal Academy.

More recently, she has given concerts throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and North America at such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall in London, the Philharmonie Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and Lincoln Center in New York. In 2003 she performed 54 concerts for the "Night of the Proms" tour in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany for an estimated total audience of over 800,000.

According to a reviewer at the New York Times in 2007, "Ms. Yang demonstrates her feisty virtuosity, impeccable technique and sensitive musicianship in repertory ranging from Albeniz to arrangements of Western pop and Asian songs." A critic at Classic FM Magazine said, "Her technique is flawless, but as well as being an impeccable technician, she also displays great feeling for the music."

Her second recording, titled "Si Ji" and inspired by music from her homeland, was released in 2005, and she consequently signed an exclusive international contract with EMI Classics and released "Romance de Amor" in April 2006 to rave reviews. She has appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including BBC radio's "Woman's Hour," and China Central Television recently featured her in a biographical documentary for their classical musician series.

The performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series. The Middlebury College Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall is located on South Main Street (Route 30). Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors. For tickets, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433 or www.middlebury.edu/arts.