Wu Fei, a native of Beijing and a current Nashville resident, is a master of the guzheng, the ancient 21-string Chinese zither. She plays beautifully in the instrument’s more than 2,000-year-old vernacular, and in a contemporary idiosyncratic, experimental dialect nurtured by years spent at Mills College and immersed in the New York Downtown improvisation scene which revolved around venues like The Stone, where Wu has frequently performed and curated.

Wu composes for choir, string quartet, chamber ensemble, Balinese gamelan, and orchestra. Her commissions range from a composition for Percussions Claviers de Lyon, which premiered in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, to live performances in Paris and Tokyo for the luxury brand Hermès. In addition to her own original compositions, Wu has collaborated with many artists of different disciplines and genres, ranging from banjo-players Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn to avant garde composer John Zorn, as well as Fred Frith, Carla Kilhstedt, Billy Cardine, and Jeff Coffin, and others.

Last Updated: December 19, 2016

Sinica Podcast


Beijing Meets Banjo: Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Wu Fei is a classically trained composer and performer of the guzheng, or traditional Chinese 21-string zither. Abigail Washburn is a Grammy Award–winning American banjo player and fluent speaker of Chinese. They’ve been friends for a decade and are...