This weekend the Fresno Philharmonic brings local audiences a truly unique concert – one that mixes sounds of "East and West," featuring pipa soloist Wu Man. The Chinese native will perform the Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra by Academy Award winning composer Tan Dun, who is best best known in the U.S. for his score for the film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The orchestra will also perform two symphonies by Beethoven.
The pipa is a traditional Chinese instrument that is sometimes compared to a lute. Its origins date back over 2,000 years, when it first came to China from Persia through the Silk Road. Today the instrument is not only heard in traditional settings but also in formats such as the Tan Dun concerto, which mixes eastern and western classical influences for a truly unique sound.
Wu Man recently joined us to talk about this piece, her music and the history of the pipa.