“I’m like a bridge between the different cultures.”
Music is always a bridge between cultures. It’s a friendly ambassador speaking volumes about a culture long before a foot is placed on foreign soil. A country’s music will not only tell you much about the sociopolitical environment, but acts as a true reflection of the soul of a nation. Listen to the music and you will hear the heart of the people.
Guitarist Xuefei Yang
is an ambassador; both for her native country of China and for the Western culture she brings home. Born in Beijing in 1977, she got her first guitar at age 7 - a gift from her father. She started attending Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music at age 13. Soon after that, she was giving public recitals; impressing the likes of composer Joaquin Rodrigo and guitar luminary John Williams. Her education abroad began with a full scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London. She was the first guitarist from China to study in the UK and the first guitarist ever to receive an international scholarship.
I spoke to Xuefei, pronounced shoo-fay, or as she prefers, “Fei,” about her discovery of the guitar and early education in China.Listen to the first part of our interview
She was 23 when arrived in London to study at the Royal Conservatory. I had to wonder how it felt to receive all these special “firsts” and about culture shock. Fei answers with typical sincerity and humility.Listen to Fei talk about her experiences going west
The Butterfly Lovers Concerto is a piece you have heard on WVPR before. On her new album, 40 Degrees North
, Fei has recorded her transcription of the first movement of this popular Chinese piece.
Listening to Fei talk about the Butterfly Lovers Concerto
Sometimes seemingly disparate things can have some unseen connections as she explains the title of her album. Also, she chose to have a Western composer, Steven Goss, to write some pieces that reflect Chinese culture as well her own musical taste.
Listen the final part of my interview with Fei
To find out more about XueFei Yang you can read about her on Wikipedia
, visit her official website
, learn about her revolutionary instrument
. And of course, listen for her CD on Classical Music on WV Public Radio.