Wu Fei

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Wu Fei (吴非), Beijing based female composer, vocalist and instrumental musician (experimental, folk, Chinese traditional, World Music)



Born and raised in Beijing, Wu Fei is a virtuoso composer, vocalist and guzheng (Chinese zither) performer. She spent her formative years at the China Conservatory of Music before coming to the US in 2000.

She holds a M.A. in Composition from Mills College and is a grant recipient of "Meet the Composer". While at Mills, she began to diversify her sound and experiment widely, working with musicians like John Zorn, Fred Frith, Carla Kilhstedt, Béla Fleck, Pauline Oliveros, and Cecil Taylor.

Wu Fei's compositions for choir, string quartet, chamber ensemble, Balinese gamelan, orchestra, film, and modern dance exhibit her remarkable skill and profound musical understanding. Her commissions include a composition for Percussions Claviers de Lyon that premiered in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.

She has also appeared as a guest on Fred Frith's Eye to Ear II (2004, Tzadik) and The Happy End Problem (2006, ReR). Wu Fei has performed in cities around the world, including Beijing, Berlin, Rome, Venice, Milano, Dublin, Oslo, Rotterdam, New York and San Francisco.

Her debut album, A Distant Youth (2007, Forrest Hill), features both Frith and violinist Carla Kihlstedt. In fall 2008, her second album Yuan was released on Tzadik Records. In 2009, after performing in various prestigious music festivals in Norway, Netherlands, and Belgium, Wu Fei met with experimental jazz legend Evan Parker in New York City and presented a duo concert at The Stone. Later in that year, a DVD entitled "Shan Qi" was released (Ozella Music), filmed in the Italian Alps and highlighting the young artist and several outstanding European musicians, including Guo Yue, Giovanni Amighetti (producer), Guido Ponzini, and Helge A. Norbakken.

In 2010, Wu Fei will be giving performances and lectures in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Africa. (full length bio & more info @www.wufeimusic.com ) www.facebook.com/wufeimusic www.twitter.com/wufei

Press Quotes:

"Soulful, lyrical and powerful music from this remarkable young composer/performer from Beijing!" - John Zorn, describing Wu Fei's latest album "Yuan".

"Fei's playing on the guzheng is breathtaking." -Fred Frith

"My soul undergoes a meltdown when Wu Fei's delicate guzheng figures remind us of the frailty of purpose amidst the often overwhelming forces of life." - Paris Transatlantic Magazine

"...Wu Fei, a Chinese guzheng player who shocked the sold-out crowd with her slashing, skittering mastery of the zitherlike instrument..." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Composer Wu Fei , as evidenced by the five compositions on Yuan, occupies a world that straddles traditional Chinese music and more contemporary styles of writing and playing." - All About Jazz New York

" In Wu's work evinces respect for tradition, an interest in what instruments can do, a strong sense of architecture, and good old fashioned showmanship. "-AllMusic

--Featured article on Wu Fei in Women of China Magazine, May 2007: [1]


Composer Fellowship, the Sally & Don Lucas Artist Residency by Montalvo Arts Center, 2009

"Yuan" Best Album of The Week - Alarm Magazine 11/25/2008

Best World Music Artist 2008 - Westword

Debut record "A Distant Youth" on World Music Chart Europe 2008


Wu Fei playing the Fisherman Song (Yu Zhou Chang Wan, traditional Shandong music) live in Itri, Italy 2007

"She Huo"- premiere in the Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing, 04/14/2007. Performed by Percussions Claviers de Lyon; Ms. Pan Eqing (pipa), Wu Fei (guzheng/voice). Music/Poetry composed by Wu Fei

"Summer Palace" by Wu Fei, live from Itri (ITA), summer European Tour 2007

A live recording in Venice of Chun by Wu Fei. From 2007 cd "A Distant Youth" (Forrest Hill). Footage from "Shan Qi" (dvd on Ozella Music). Directed by Giacomo Talamini, Arvmusic, Hive Division.

Interview by Danwei TV (China's top internet TV featured on CNN, BBC, MSNBC etc), April 2007, Beijing. Thanks to Anna Sophie Loewenberg aka Su Fei (check her "Sexy Beijing" episodes featured on CNN, BBC, MSNBC Today's Show), Luke Mines and Jeremy Goldkorn.

Participated Festivals



  • "Shan Qi", DVD - November 2009, Ozella Music (Germany)
  • "Yuan" - November 2008, Tzadik Records (US)
  • "A Distant Youth" - September 2007, Forrest Hill Records (Italy)

As guest musician on:

  • Abigail Washburn's "City of Refuge", January 11, 2011, Rounder Records (US)
  • Fred Frith's "Clearing Customs", Intakt Records (Switzerland), January 2011, a project under Germany's SWR "New Jazz Metting"
  • Fred Frith's "Eye to Ear 3" November, 2010, Tzadik Records (US)
  • Fred Frith's "The Happy End Problem" December 2006
  • Fred Frith's "Eye to Ear II" 2004, Tzadik Records (US)


Further Information