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Pipa player Wu Man looks West

By JIAN PING in Chicago | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-11-05 05:16

Pipa player Wu Man looks West

Wu Man (left) poses next to a poster at the Symphony Center before a recent performance.

Wu said she had played it hundreds of times with Western orchestras in the US and Europe. But playing the piece with the NCPA Orchestra marked the first time she ever played it with a touring Chinese orchestra outside of China.

Wu said she felt overwhelmed with emotion.

"It's wonderful to see a major Chinese symphony orchestra staging Chinese music and a traditional Chinese instrument on tour," Wu said.

"We have so much in our culture to share with others," Wu added. "This is quite a significant step for me."

The audience responded with the same enthusiasm at the concert. Wu returned to the stage with an encore of White Snow in Spring, a traditional piece that sounded familiar to many in the audience.

Wu said that she always gives her best at performances, no matter how large or small the venue, because she wants to have something meaningful to stay with the audience.

"Not only just, oh, that's entertaining," said Wu, "but have the audience walk away thinking, that's beautiful. What does it say about China? Where is China?"

She wants the audience to continue asking questions, especially the young, to kindle their interest in another country and culture. "That's so important today."

Wu believes that the best time to spread Chinese music and culture is now. She says that the position of Chinese music is still weak when compared to African- or Latin-American music. There is still a lot to do to establish a stronger presence and position for Chinese music on the global stage.

In addition to performing in the West, Wu also wants to go back to China to share her experiences and teach young musicians to study and appreciate Chinese traditions.

"We need to present to the world the best of what we have," Wu said. "Only when the young gain a deeper understanding of all the traditional pieces can they do better in sharing them with the rest of the world."

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