Born in Shanghai, China, Wang Guowei joined the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra at age 17, later becoming erhu soloist and concertmaster. He gained national prominence in garnering the prestigious “ART Cup” award at the 1989 International Chinese Instrumental Music Competition and accolades for his performances at the 15th annual “Shanghai Spring Music Festival.” He has toured internationally in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Belgium, Canada, England, Italy, and Australia. In America, Wang Guowei has been hailed by New York Times and Washington Post music critics as a “master of the erhu” and praised for his “extraordinary” and “gorgeous” playing of the instrument.
Joining Music From China as Artistic Director in 1996, Wang Guowei has performed throughout the U.S. with appearances at Princeton, Duke, Pittsburgh, Yale, Wisconsin, Dayton, Bucknell, Vermont, Colgate, Indiana, Illinois State, Rhode Island, Texas A&M universities; Bard, Vassar, Dartmouth, Lafayette, St. Bonaventure, Williams, Middlebury colleges; Peabody Conservatory, UMKC Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Weill Recial Hall at Carnegie Hall, San Diego Museum of Art, Chautauqua Institution, 92nd Street Y, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, and the Library of Congress, He has also performed with Music From China at the Dionysia Center for Arts and Culture in Rome, Italy, and with the Avison Ensemble in Newcastle, England.
Wang Guowei also maintains an active solo career. His musical collaboration includes performances with the Virginia Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, New Music Consort, Norfolk Chamber Consort, Ethos Percussion Group, Amelia Piano Trio, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Continuum; Philadelphia Classical Symphony, Post Classical Symphony, DaCamera of Houston, Brooklyn Philharmonic; jazz artists Ornette Coleman, Anthony Braxton, Butch Morris, Kenny Garrett, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma; the Ying, Shanghai, Sunrise, Cassatt, and Todd Reynolds string quartets. Mr. Wang premiered Pulitzer Prize composer Zhou Long’s Madame White Snake presented by Opera Boston, and in Guo Wenjin’s highly acclaimed opera Feng Yiting at the 2012 Spoleto and Lincoln Center Festivals.
Giving expression to artistic creativity in composing new work, Wang Guowei seeks to expand the lexicon of the erhu and Chinese ensemble. This often leads to exploring unusual instrumental combinations of East and West. His works include Sheng for solo erhu; Tea House for Chinese ensemble which premiered on Australia’s ABC Radio National and performed at the 1998 Adelaide Festival; Tang Wind commissioned by the Multicultural Group for Chinese instruments and Western orchestra; Two Pieces for Percussion Quartet: Kong – Wu commissioned and premiered by the Ethos Percussion Group at Weill Recital Hall; Two Plus Two for Chinese string trio and tape; Three Poems for Erhu; Lullaby for erhu, clarinet & piano; Songs for Huqin and Saxophone Quartet; and Tea House II for Chinese trio.
Orchestra training is an important part of Wang Guowei’s work in promoting Chinese music. He founded the Wesleyan University Chinese Music Ensemble in 2001 and conducted the orchestra for eight years. A similar program was established at New York University for two years. In 2011 Wang Guowei founded a third Chinese orchestra at Westminster Choir College at Rider University. In 2014 Wang Guowe was appointed Artist-in-Residence in Chinese Music Performance and Director of the Williams College Chinese Ensemble. Most recently, he became co-director and conductor of the Swarthmore College Chinese Music Ensemble.
To preserve the musical heritage of Chinese Americans, Wang Guowei founded the Music From China Youth Orchestra in 2004. He has conducted the 30-member orchestra at prestigious concert venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at Drew University, and in concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution’s Freer & Sackler Gallery of Art, New York Public Library for the Performing arts at Lincoln Center, New York University, and Middlebury College. He brought the orchestra to Shanghai in 2008, 2010, and to Taipei in 2012 for three collaborative concerts with award-winning youth orchestras in these cities.
Wang Guowei is recipient of commissioning awards and artist grants from the American Composers Forum, New York State Council on the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Queens Council on the Arts, and New York Foundation for the Arts.