Wu Man is arguably the world’s leading performer of the pipa, a Chinese instrument similar to the lute but with an independent history that stretches back thousands of years. Through her many acclaimed international performances and frequent commissioning efforts, Wu Man has ushered the pipa into the 21st century, making it a beloved instrument for listeners all over the world. Wu Man is an enthusiastic collaborator: Composers whose works she has championed include the likes of Zhao Lin, Tan Dun and Lou Harrison. She is also a founding member of Silkroad Ensemble.
Here, Wu Man gives an overview of the pipa’s history and some essential playing techniques. You can view versions of these videos both in English (above) and in Mandarin.