Monday, January 9, 2012

An Enchanting Escape: Di Wu joins the HSO

Di Wu will be performing Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto, one of the most popular piano concertos in the repertoire, this weekend with Stuart Malina and the Harrisburg Symphony, Saturday night at 8pm and Sunday afternoon at 3pm at the Forum. In addition, the program includes a youthful work by Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, a fairy-tale he called "En Saga" (which means, simply, "A Fairy Tale"), and the Symphony No. 3 by Johannes Brahms which he wrote during the summer of his 50th Birthday.

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Praised by The Wall Street Journal as “a most mature and sensitive pianist,” Chinese-born Di Wu continues to uphold her enviable reputation as an elegant and exciting musician. Recent highlights include debuts with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, the Cincinnati May Festival, the Hamburg Philharmonic, and a performance in Tokyo where she appeared as a soloist with orchestra before an audience of 11,000.

As a recitalist, she has been hailed by the Washington Post for her “fire and authority.” The Philadelphia Inquirer praised her “charisma, steely technique and keen musical intelligence,” and in California, the Bay Area’s Peninsula Review critic declared, “I would gladly crawl over broken glass to hear her again.” Ms. Wu recently gave her San Francisco recital debut, and returned as soloist to Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach in the famed, but rarely performed, Turangal├«la-Symphonie of Messaien, one of numerous debuts and re-engagements on Ms. Wu’s current itinerary.

Ms. Wu is the winner of numerous competition prizes. In 2009 alone, she was awarded a coveted prize at the XIII Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, The Juilliard School’s Petschek Award, and the Vendome Virtuosi prize at Lisbon’s prestigious Vendome Competition. She is a winner of Astral Artists’ 2007 National Auditions. Her recent recording of Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Books I and II received praise from Musical America’s Harris Goldsmith, who wrote, “Her account of the Brahms is amazing. She takes all the difficult options (her glissandos are unbelievable!), and she conjures from the piano absolutely gossamer, violinistic textures, joyous humor, and brilliant air-borne tempos.”

Ms. Wu began her professional career as soloist with the Beijing Philharmonic at the age of 14. Since then she has toured widely in Asia and Europe. She came to the U.S. in 1999 to study at the Manhattan School of Music with Zenon Fishbein. From the year 2000 through 2005 she studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Gary Graffman. She went on to earn a Master of Music degree from Juilliard under Yoheved Kaplinsky and an Artist Diploma under the guidance of Joseph Kalichstein and Robert McDonald.

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Here is Di Wu's video biography from a presentation about the 2009 Van Cliburn competition:

Click here to listen to Di Wu performing the last movement of the 3rd Piano Concerto by Sergei Rachmaninoff from the final round of the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition.

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