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Special Reports

Where Are They Now?
Pianist Di Wu

June 5, 2018 | By Janelle Gelfand

New Artist of the Month: May 2009

Since being named one of the six finalists in the June 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Di Wu has made major debuts and charmed critics with her “charisma, steely technique, and keen musical intelligence.”

Wu has made four appearances at Carnegie Hall, and last summer, the Chinese-born pianist debuted at the Stiftung Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, performing Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony with Christoph Eschenbach. But her career hasn’t only consisted of the requisite recital and concerto engagements. Wu says she is also branching out to pursue new collaborations and new formats.

In April, she performed Brahms’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini from the pit for Atlanta Ballet’s world premiere of choreographer Tara Lee’s blink

“Working with different types of artists gives me inspiration,” she says. “Atlanta Ballet has a half-raised orchestra pit and I didn’t have a full view of the ballet dancers, so I really had to connect with them internally. It was a big piece, but very fun.”

In 2016, soprano Sarah Brightman invited the pianist to perform as soloist on a 20-concert tour to Asia. For that, Wu played excerpts of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Miklós Rózsa’s Spellbound Concerto, the latter arranged by Rózsa from his Oscar-winning score to the 1945 Hitchcock film.

“In Asia we mainly performed in stadiums. I have now done regular concert halls, closed stadiums, open stadiums, and concerts with large digital installations,” she says. 

Among her upcoming projects, she’s at work on an album of film music, with repertoire and label to be announced. 

Wu is now based in Montreal, where she lives with her fiancé, who works in artificial intelligence. There’s no telling what kinds of collaborations might result. She remarks, “My life is really half music, half cutting-edge tech.”

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