Saturday, April 8, 2017 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue Information
Program to be announced
The Guitar Series is presented in association with OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts.
About This Performance
Beijing-born Xuefei Yang is a pioneer who transcended the Cultural Revolution’s prohibitions on Western music to triumph on the world stage as her homeland’s first modern guitar virtuoso. She has been recognized since age 10 by leaders including Spain’s ambassador to China, composer Joaquín Rodrigo and guitarist John Williams. She has equally enthralled critics worldwide, including The Irish Times, which reported, “this was one of those performances that was simply revelatory, full of fresh and unexpected turns.”
“Who is Ms. Yang? A Chinese classical guitarist, and, really, one of the most extraordinary instrumentalists in the world.”
—New York Sun
Xuefei Yang is acclaimed as one of the world’s finest classical guitarists. Hailed as a musical pioneer—her fascinating journey began after the Cultural Revolution, a period where Western musical instruments & music were banned. Xuefei was the first-ever guitarist in China to enter a music school, and became the first internationally recognised Chinese guitarist on the world stage.
Her first public appearance was at the age of ten and received such acclaim that the Spanish Ambassador in China presented her with a concert guitar. Her debut in Madrid at the age of 14 was attended by the composer Joaquín Rodrigo and, when John Williams heard her play, he gave two of his own instruments to Beijing’s Central Conservatoire especially for her and other advanced students.
Her international success has led her to be invited to play in more than 50 countries at numerous prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall, all Southbank venues, and Royal Albert Hall in London, as well as the Philharmonie Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Vienna, Auditorio Nacional de Espana, Barcelona Auditorium, Carnegie Hall & Lincoln Center New York. In Asia she has appeared at the National Concert Hall Taipei, Hong Kong City Hall & Cultural Center, Esplanade Singapore, Seoul Arts Centre and gave the first guitar recital and concerto in the Beijing National Center of Performing Arts. Xuefei has also been invited to perform at major music festivals such as BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Shanghai MISA Festival and the Beijing international Music Festival.
Fei is frequently invited to play with the world’s leading orchestras including Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Scotland National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Orchestra, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, & Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, China Philharmonic. Fei’s recent highlights include return performances with the English Chamber Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Wintertour Philharmonic, debut performances with Beijing Symphony Orchestra, China National Orchestra giving the Asian premier of the The Albeniz Concerto written for Xuefei by Stephen Goss, and an Australian tour with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra which included performing the Australian premier of Tan Dun’s guitar concerto. She is also a committed recitalist and will be following on from the critical success she received in collaboration with Ian Bostridge on his album Britten Songs with a recital at the London’s Globe and a major tour across Asia. Fei’s dedication as a recitalist will see her appear across the world throughout the season. Her engagements in the 2015–16 season include appearances in Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Seoul, Washington DC, Chicago, Oslo, Essen, London, Istanbul and making her debut in Sweden and Slovenia.
Gramophone magazine praised Xuefei as one of the leading innovators of her generation for continuing to build the guitar repertoire. Xuefei is committed to commissioning new works and making her own arrangements, with a particular interest in adding Chinese music and chamber music, many of which have appeared on her recordings. Xuefei has received new works from composers such as Chen Yi, Stephen Goss, Timothy Salter, Carlo Domeniconi. This season sees her giving at least three world premiere performances.
Fei has made many albums including several acclaimed recordings for EMI Classics. Her first recording received a gold disc and her second was selected as ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone magazine. Several of the recordings reflect Fei’s interest in expanding the repertoire. A concerto album recorded with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eiji Oue, featuring Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez and Goss’ Albeniz Concerto. Another recording of Bach Concertos featured Fei’s innovative transcriptions of solo works and concertos by J.S. Bach. Fei’s latest album Heartstrings, (Decca Classics) was released in 2015 and again includes new transcriptions and original works for guitar, and topped the classical charts in HK for five weeks.
Fei is one of the few guitarists whose artistry connect with audiences far beyond the guitar fraternity. She collaborates with an eclectic range of artists: classical musicians such as Jian Wang, Ian Bostridge, Rosalind Plowright, Sir James Galway, Elias String Quartet and the Heath Quartet; cross-over artist David Garrett. Fei has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs including BBC Radio 4’s Woman's Hour, the BBC Proms, a BBC documentary The Story of Guitar, and China Central Television, who made a biographical documentary on Fei.
Xuefei was born in Beijing, and is a graduate of Beijing’s Central Conservatoire of Music, and went on to become the first Chinese musician to receive a full scholarship for postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she received the Principal’s Prize on completion of her postgraduate study. The UK classical music magazine, Classic FM, named Xuefei as one of the 100 top classical musicians of our time. In recognition of her distinguished career, Fei was awarded ‘Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music’ in June 2012. Xuefei continues to be ambassador and role model for guitar in China, and from 2015 she is honoured to be the artistic director of Changsha International Guitar Festival. Xuefei is now based in the UK.