Young prodigy finds magic in guitar strings

Updated: 2013-03-18 13:34

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Young prodigy finds magic in guitar strings

Wang Yameng is one of the most successful Chinese classical guitarists in the world. Provided to China Daily

Before Wang Yameng was born, her father was not buying clothes and toys for his unborn child. He was preparing books on how to play the guitar and planning courses for his baby. By the time she was 5, Wang was given a ukulele by her father and was studying with her father's guitar teacher.

Wang's childhood hobby has turned out to be her full-time career. Today, Wang, 32, is one of the most successful Chinese classical guitarists, and she gives recitals all across the United States and Europe both as a soloist and as part of chamber music ensembles.

Young prodigy finds magic in guitar strings

Jazzing it up 

Young prodigy finds magic in guitar strings

Brightman aims for the universe 

She performed more than 20 times in 2012 at venues including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Spivey Hall in the US city of Atlanta.

Earlier this month, she performed in New York City with her partner Su Meng, another young Chinese classical guitarist, with whom they formed Beijing Guitar Duo three years ago.

Cuban guitar virtuoso Manuel Barrueco, who taught the duo since they first came to the US in 2006, praised their performance. One highlight: Eight Memories in Watercolor, written by Tan Dun.

Academy Award-winning composer Tan, who heard the duo's arrangement on one of their CDs, says that he was surprised that Chinese songs and the guitar could be a perfect match.

For Wang, the guitar comes to life in a blend of Chinese and Western music elements.

Barrueco also composed a song, a new transcription of composer Chen Yi's China West, which was originally written for two pianos. It will be recorded on Beijing Guitar Duo's third album, which they plan to release this year.

"My father kept telling me that the sound of guitar is the most beautiful sound in the world," recalls Wang, who came from Qingdao, Shandong province.

A turning point for her came one day in March 1992. Her father took her to Beijing Concert Hall, to see a guitar performance by 15-year-old Yang Xuefei and 14-year-old Bai Pu - a magical program of Bach, Paganini and Tarrega.

Afterward, the little girl told her father: "I want to be like them, playing such beautiful sounds."

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