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Wu Wei


The artistry of internationally renowned Sheng virtuoso Wu Wei reaches far beyond the traditional boundaries of his more than 3,000-year-old Chinese instrument and brings it well into the 21st century.

The sheng is a mouth organ formed out of a bundle of bamboo reeds and cased in a metal bowl. In China, it is supposed to sound like the song of a Phoenix from a Chinese legend: silvery and fleeting as the wind.

Wu Wei’s radiant and transparent tone as well as the infinite possibilities offered by his instrument in terms of melody, harmony, rhythm and polyphony have led him to collaborating with many artists, composers (Huang Ruo, Guus Janssen, Unsuk Chin, Jukka Tiensuu, Bernd Richard Deutsch, Ondrej Adamek, Donghoon Shin, Enjott Schneider, Man Fang and Rolf Wallin) and ensembles in traditional, chamber or orchestral settings, improvising in solo concerts or with jazz big bands, playing electronic music, and taking part in minimal or Baroque music performances.

In the new music repertoire, Wu Wei has been invited by orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Cabrillo Festival, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, hr-Sinfonieorchester in Frankfurt/Main, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra, and ensembles such as Holland Baroque, Ensemble intercontemporain, Atlas Ensemble and NDR Big Band.

He is regularly performing at international festivals such as the BBC Proms in London, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Edinburgh International Festival, Suntory Hall Summer Festival Tokyo, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Festival Achtbrücken Köln, Grafenegg Festival, Lincoln Center Festival New York and Tongyeong International Music Festival, and recently at the Lucerne Festival and Musikfest Berlin.

With Martin Stegner (viola) and Janne Saksala (double bass), both members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, he founded the Wu Wei Trio which appears each season in the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie Berlin. As a founder of the Berlin based Ensemble Asianart, he likes to share transcultural programs with instrumentalists from all around the world. For the Morgenland Festival, he forms with the jazz trumpeter Ingolf Burkhart and pianist Florian Weber, the Trio Silk Blues. He is an ideal partner for interdisciplinary projects involving literature, dance, theater and architecture.

His projects include concerts at the HR Symphony Orchestra in Frankfurt, the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, the Real Filharmonía de Galicia, a residency at the NCPA in Beijing, the premiere at the Gyeonggi Arts Centre (Korea) of a new sheng concerto by Il-Ryun Chung and, in 2026, the premiere of Philippe Leroux’s new concerto for sheng, ensemble and electronics with Ensemble intercontemporain and IRCAM.

Wu Wei was born in 1970 in Gaoyou, China. He studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and with the support of the Naumann Foundation, he took part in 1995 to a four year DAAD scholarship in Berlin, where he is currently living. Since 2013, Wu Wei has been a professor teaching the Sheng at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. For the entire 2023/2024 season, he is invited as a professor by Minzu University of China in Beijing.