World premier pipa virtuoso Ms Wu Man shares music adventure at Belt and Road public lecture
18 Oct 2017
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) organised its first Belt and Road Public Lecture on 12 October with world-renowned pipa virtuoso Ms Wu Man speaking on the topic “Silk Road: Wu Man’s Pipa Journey”.
At the lecture, Ms Wu shared her adventurous musical journey which began in her hometown in China and spanned across the world to the West. Born in Hangzhou, she started to learn pipa at the age of nine. When she was just 13, Ms Wu was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing through an audition and became the youngest student at the school. In 1987, she received her Master’s degree in pipa performance at the Central Conservatory of Music, the first such degree conferred on a pipa player.
Ms Wu said curiosity led her to step out of her homeland to explore different types of music around the world. In 1990, she gave up the faculty title granted by the Central Conservatory of Music and decided to travel to the US to pursue a career in pipa performance that would allow her repertoire to extend beyond traditional Chinese music. In 1998, she joined the Yo-yo Ma’s Silk Road Project as a founding member with the aim of fostering cross-cultural communication through musical performance and education. She is also the first artist from China to perform at the White House.
Connecting her music experience to “One Belt, One Road”, Ms Wu likened it to a circle—she began her journey in China and returned to her homeland with input of something fresh and different. She has taken upon herself the mission of introducing Chinese culture to the West while sharing with the young generation the importance of arts and music, and fostering cultural exchange and mutual understanding among people around the world.
In addition to the lecture, Ms Wu jointly performed in a concert with HKBU’s Collegium Musicum Hong Kong on 13 October. Apart from Ms Wu’s solo performance, they also performed Lou Harrison’s concertos, namely Allegro, Bits and Pieces: Troika, Bits and Pieces: Three Sharing, Bits and Pieces: Wind and Plum, Bits and Pieces: Neapolitan, Threnody for Richard Locke, and Estampie.
The Belt and Road Public Lecture and Concert Series is organised with the aim of enhancing understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative as well as highlighting the opportunities it brings to Hong Kong. For details of the upcoming lectures, please visit: http://beltandroad.hkbu.edu.hk/en/index/main/.