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Biography

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Wenwen Du (she/her) is one of Canada’s most accomplished young pianists. Acclaimed for her “strong and perceptive pianism,” she is a renowned solo and collaborative pianist.

 

Du has most frequently appeared in concert with tenor Ian Bostridge, earning international acclaim for their recitals together. The New York Times wrote that she was “superb [in their] devastating concert” of music of World War I and the Vancouver Sun wrote, “Du and Bostridge are not just on the same page, they anticipate each other’s every nuance in perfect synchronization.” Their latest appearances were for Ottawa’s Music and Beyond and a return performance for San Francisco Performances. San Francisco Classical Voice wrote, “[Du’s] readings were strikingly sharp, poignant, and vibrant” and Seen and Heard International wrote, “Wenwen Du was in remarkable sync with Bostridge, and the music unfolded with unity and balance. Piano flourishes seemed to inspire improvisation from the singer and vice versa: unexpected nuances from the singer immediately shaded the piano part. This was lieder at a high level.” Additional appearances have included the Park Avenue Armory, Cal Performances, Vancouver Recital Society, Spivey Hall, Schloss Elmau, Daegu Suseong Artpia, and Cheonan Arts Center.

 

Du appeared at the LA Philharmonic for a unique recital of Schubert and Samuel Beckett, directed by Yuval Sharon and featuring soprano Julia Bullock, bass-baritone Ryan McKinney, and actors Miles Anderson, Barry McGovern, Alan Mandell, Bella Merlin, and Priscilla Pointer. Other recital partners have included violinists Caroline Goulding, Nikki Chooi and Timothy Chooi, cellist Cristian Márkos, soprano Judith Howarth, mezzo-soprano Abigail Levis, tenors Mingyu Zhang and Katherine Goforth, baritones Johannes Kammler and Anton Belov, and bass-baritone Richard Zeller. She has given Schubertiades at Portland State University’s Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik and the Aquilon Music Festival, and appeared in a Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme alumni recital during the Aldeburgh Festival. 

Having given recital performances in Europe, Asia, and North America, Du’s recent solo engagements have included a recital for Müzewest (Vancouver BC), where she premiered Dr Jacquline Leggatt’s reflection on COVID, the solo piano work ”this rabble world,” and two performances at the British Embassy in Beijing at the invitation of Dame Caroline Wilson, British Ambassador to China. She has recorded works by Schubert and Rachmaninov for CBC Radio broadcast and played for Coast Recital Society. Upcoming, Du will perform in recital with violinist Milan Al-Ashhab in Teplice, Czechia, for the European Music Academy in Teplice.

 

In recent years, Du has often served as an assistant conductor and principal coach in operatic productions. She assisted Tang Muhai in the premiere of Tang Kang Nian’s Thunderstorm with Tianjin Opera House, Die Walküre with the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra, Tosca with Harbin Grand Theatre, and China National Opera House and Opera Australia’s joint tour of Madama Butterfly. An adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia, she assisted Norbert Baxa in Rusalka and The Merry Wives of Windsor and Otto Tausk in Le Nozze di Figaro. Du works closely with Nancy Hermiston and the UBC Opera as a coach, collaborative pianist, and occasionally, orchestra member.

 

Du recently co-founded Nebula Performances, a Vancouver performance center dedicated to featuring performances of renowned artists and nurturing young talent. Through Nebula, Du is the director of the Vancouver Summer Vocal Workshop, a training program for singers of all levels. 

 

Born in China, Du was trained by Dan Zhaoyi at the Shenzhen Art School before studying with Lee Kum Sing at Vancouver Academy of Music, where she received her Bachelor’s of Music and an Artist Diploma. She also participated in the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden, Austria, with teachers including Elly Ameling, Helmut Deutsch, Julius Drake, Gabriele Jacoby and the late Deen Larsen, Oxford Lieder Festival in London with teachers Wolfgang Holzmair and Imogen Cooper, and the Britten Song and Wolf Lieder courses at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in UK.

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