"Cell phones got alerts that a performance by Chinese guzheng player Wu Fei was at capacity.” — Rolling Stone magazine, on Wu Fei’s sold out solo performance at Big Ears music festival, March 2017.
Wu Fei is a native of Beijing and a current Nashville resident. She is a classically trained composer, master of the guzheng — the 21-string Chinese zither, and a vocalist. She plays in the guzheng's vernacular — a musical language which is at least 2,000 years old, and mixes Western classical and Chinese traditions with a contemporary, idiosyncratic sound. Her early music education was at the China Conservatory of Music, but did her Master's at Mills College and laster immersed herself in the New York downtown improvisation scene at venues like The Stone, where Fei has frequently performed and curated.
Wu Fei composes for choir, string quartet, chamber ensemble, Balinese gamelan, and orchestra; her commissions range from a composition for Percussions Claviers de Lyon that premiered in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing to live performances in Paris and Tokyo for luxury brand Hermès.
Currently, Wu Fei is the composer-in-residence for Chatterbird Ensemble. She has also been commissioned by Intersection Ensemble and individual soloists globally.
In addition to her own original compositions, Fei has collaborated with many artists of different disciplines and genres ranging, from Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Billy Martin (Medeski-Martin-Wood) to avant garde composers John Zorn and Fred Frith. She has taken her guzheng and music around the world and touring highlights include composition premiere at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, the MoMA in New York City, North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, Vossa Jazz in Norway, Europalia Festival in Belgium, and the Big Ears Festival in Tennessee.
Wu Fei has released two solo records and one duo record with classical guitarist Gyan Riley. Each record exhibits both her unique solo improvisational vocabulary and her craft of composing for chamber orchestras. "Wu's work evinces respect for tradition, an interest in what instruments can do, a strong sense of architecture, and good old fashioned showmanship. " Allmusic.com reviews Wu Fei's chamber work album YUAN released on Tzadik Records.
- Wu Fei with Chatterbird is the winner of Best Genre-Defying Classical Performance by Nashville Scene 2017's Writer's Choice.
- DVD “Shan Qi” nominated for Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (Award of the German Record Critique), 2009.
- Composer Fellowship, the Sally & Don Lucas Artist Residency by Montalvo Arts Center, 2009
- “Yuan” Best Album of The Week – Alarm Magazine 11/25/2008
- Best World Music Artist 2008 – Westword
- Debut record “A Distant Youth” on World Music Chart Europe 2008
A listing of Wu Fei's commissioned works + compositions can be viewed on the Compositions page.