Video NewsSilk Road radioPostcards from the road Maps
Arms with designs on them
Music & Artists

Wu Tong singing, holding his instrument, the sheng

© RICHARD CONDE

Debuting New Works
Silk Road Ensemble musician and composer Wu Tong (above) sings during the premiere of his composition 9 Rivers during a Silk Road Ensemble residency at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. The piece has become part of the Silk Road Ensemble's repertoire.


Wu Tong

© TODD ROSENBERG/SONY BMG MASTERWORKS

"We each play a different instrument, Western or Chinese, but the musician himself is the same. We play the music with the same feeling and the same heart, so its very easy to cooperate with each other."

- WU TONG


Wu Tong

Sheng, bawu, suona, vocals, composer (China) Born to a musical family in Beijing, Wu Tong has become his generation's most visible proponent of traditional Chinese music. As a founding vocalist of the pioneering rock band Lunhui (Again), which merges Western and Asian traditions, a performer with the Silk Road Ensemble, and a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta and Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Wu has achieved an unparalleled following for Chinese music on three continents.

Wu began his musical studies at age five with his father, and soon won dozens of national and international competitions in the Chinese wind instrument category. Throughout his youth, Wu was showcased as a national star, playing for Chinese dignitaries and visiting leaders. He entered the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music’s pre-college program at age 11, and upon graduation from the Conservatory at age 19 became the youngest soloist of the China Central Traditional Music and Dance Company, which toured extensively throughout China and abroad.

In 1991, Wu and four Central Conservatory classmates founded Lunhui and began merging the energy of rock music with traditional Chinese form and asthetics. After their 1993 hit On the Way to Wartime Yangzhou, which set the words of Song Dynasty poet Xin Qiji to music, JVC Japan immediately signed the band. Subsequent recordings in 1995, 1997 and 2001 made Lunhui China’s premier rock band in sales as well as live performances. Lunhui became the first rock band to appear on Chinese national television in 2000, and is featured regularly on national broadcasts and pan-Asian cable television.

Wu joined the Silk Road Ensemble in 1999. He was the featured vocalist for Blue Little Flower, his arrangement of the traditional Chinese folksong, and performs on the Ensemble’s albums When Strangers Meet, Beyond the Horizon, New Impossibilities and Off the Map. He has been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, and, in 2004, spent several months working with Siemens at its United States headquarters to develop looping technology for a new electric sheng.

Wu remains a chart-topping vocalist in China while continuing to travel extensively with the Silk Road Ensemble. In recent seasons, he has appeared with the Ensemble at such prestigious locations as the Aichi World Expo, the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Millennium Park. In April 2007, he was featured with the Silk Road Ensemble in a series of concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Sheng    Bawu

© TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL

Instruments
Sheng
Bawu


Video
Interview


Other sheng & bawu players
Hu Jianbing


Other vocalists
Khongorzul Ganbaatar
Dong-Won Kim
Ji Hyun Kim
Alim Qasimov
Fargana Qasimova


Other Ensemble members from China
He Cui
Hu Jianbing
Jia Daqun
Li Hui
Liu Lin
Wu Man
Betti Xiang
Yang Wei
DaXun Zhang
Zhao Jiping
Zhao Lin