2018 Full biography (973 Words)
Pianist Wu Han ranks among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. Leading an unusually multifaceted artistic career, she has risen to international prominence through her wide-ranging activities as a concert performer, recording artist, educator, arts administrator, and cultural entrepreneur. Wu Han is a recipient of Musical America’s Musician of the Year award, one of the highest honors granted by the music industry.
In high demand as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, Wu Han has appeared at many of the world’s most prestigious concert series and venues, including Wigmore Hall in London; New York’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library, and 92nd Street Y; Washington’s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress; Boston’s Symphony Hall; Cleveland’s Severance Hall; and major concert series in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Wu Han’s international tours have led her to England, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Russia, Denmark, Japan, Korea, and her native Taiwan, and she appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Sanibel Music Festival, Caramoor, Savannah Music Festival, and Music@Menlo. Wu Han is a frequent collaborator with many of today’s finest musicians and ensembles, including the Escher, St. Lawrence, and Emerson String Quartets. She appears extensively each season as duo pianist with cellist David Finckel.
Numerous works by a cadre of today’s leading composers have been commissioned for and dedicated to Wu Han; her commitment to new music has brought works by Bruce Adolphe, Lera Auerbach, Gabriela Lena Frank, Pierre Jalbert, Augusta Read Thomas, and George Tsontakis to audiences around the world.
Highlights of her 2017–18 season include international and domestic tours with David Finckel, and collaborations with a stellar lineup of artists and ensembles. This year, Wu Han continues her important work with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS); reunites with violinist Philip Setzer for performances of the complete cycle of piano trios by Beethoven; announces Music@Menlo’s sixteenth season; and completes the filming of a two-part television feature soon to be carried on several PBS stations. Recently, she joined CMS artists on a grand tour of the Far East with appearances at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Hsinchu Performing Arts Center and the National Concert Hall in Taiwan; and she continued to expand the presence of chamber music in South Korea with the seventh annual Chamber Music Today festival.
In addition to her distinction as one of classical music’s most accomplished performers, Wu Han has established a reputation for her dynamic and innovative approach to the recording studio. In 1997, she and David Finckel launched ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, whose catalogue of nineteen albums has won widespread critical acclaim. The Denver Post described ArtistLed as “a classical music breakthrough.” This is a milestone season as the label turns twenty in 2018. The most recent addition to the ArtistLed catalogue, Wu Han LIVE II, in collaboration with the Music@Menlo LIVE label, features Wu Han performing piano quintets of Taneyev and Dohnányi.
Now in her third term as Artistic Codirector of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with David Finckel, they together hold the longest tenure since Charles Wadsworth, the founding Artistic Director. They are the founding Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley that has garnered international acclaim, soon to celebrate its sixteenth season. In these capacities, they have overseen the establishment and design of The Chamber Music Society’s CMS Studio Recordings label, as well as a recording partnership with Deutsche Grammophon (which includes CMS concert downloads made available through the Digital DG Concerts Series); and Music@Menlo LIVE, Music@Menlo’s exclusive recording label, which has been praised as a “breakthrough” (Billboard) and “probably the most ambitious recording project of any classical music festival in the world” (San Jose Mercury News). Wu Han also serves as Artistic Codirector of Chamber Music Today in Seoul, Korea. The annual festival is at the forefront the expanding chamber music presence in the Far East.
Wu Han has achieved universal renown for her passionate commitment to nurturing the careers of countless young artists through a wide array of education initiatives. For many years, she taught alongside the late Isaac Stern at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center. In 2013, she established a chamber music studio at Aspen Music Festival. Under the auspices of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Wu Han has been instrumental in expanding the CMS Two program that has proven to be the galvanizing springboard for many of today’s most successful chamber music artists, and has contributed immeasurably to the vibrancy of CMS. Wu Han also launched the Chamber Music Encounters program in New York and co-directs the LG Chamber Music School, which serves dozens of young musicians in Korea annually.
The subject of numerous feature stories around the globe, Wu Han has appeared in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star, New York Newsday, The Mercury News, Billboard, The Strad, BBC Music Magazine, Time Out London, and Tokyo’s Ongaku-no-Tomo. On television, she has appeared on NBC Nightly News, A&E Network’s Breakfast with the Arts, Channel 13’s New York Voices, CNN’s Turner Entertainment Report and European Business News. She has also been a frequent guest on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Saint Paul Sunday, and other popular classical radio programs.
At the age of nine, Wu Han began her musical studies and within a few years took first prizes in all the major competitions in Taiwan. In the U.S., she participated at the Marlboro Music Festival, attended the Hartt School of Music, and studied with Raymond Hanson, Rudolf Serkin, Herbert Stessin, Lilian Kallir, and Menahem Pressler.
Wu Han lives in New York with her husband, David Finckel.
For more information, please visit www.davidfinckelandwuhan.com.