“Bass Players with
great technique and supreme artistry are non-existent. Well, there are a few
exceptions: the legendary Gary Karr, of course, Eugene Levinson of the New
York Philharmonic, and now Yung-Chiao Wei, a young, multi-talented female
bassist from Taiwan” reads a New York Concert Review of Yung-Chiao Wei’s
Carnegie Hall solo recital debut. Yung-Chiao Wei was also praised by The
Miami Herald as "a two sided-talent - a competition winning pianist turned
double bass virtuoso". Through her musical insight, breathtaking virtuosity
and personality, Wei combines compelling, artistic performances on the
double bass with a magical presence in stage.
Wei is the first
female bassist performed a solo recital in the Carnegie Hall. Her Carnegie
Hall debut garnered tremendous praise from New York Concert Review Inc.
Critic Anthony Aibel, who hailed “Wei is phenomenal”. Her performance of
Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata in A minor elicited another mention of praise;
Aible affirmed that “nuance on the double bass is hard to accomplish, but
Wei plays with subtlety of dynamics, color and expression one seldom, if
ever, hears on the bass”.
As a bassist with unusual physical
disadvantages: being 5 feet and 3 inches tall with hands that have thumbs
and little fingers half the size of those found on normal hands, Wei was
able to overcome these physical challenges and established a distinguished
career as both a performer and an educator. She has performed at major
concert halls, prestigious summer festivals, and has given master
classes/recitals at major music schools on four continents. She has appeared
at Carnegie Hall, Davis Hall, Jordan Hall, Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall,
National Concert Hall (Taiwan), and Izuminomori Hall (Japan). Concerto
engagement includes performances with the National Symphony Orchestra in
Taiwan, the New World Symphony (FL), Formosa Philharmonic, and Louisiana
Sinforniatte. She has given performances and master classes at Opera
Bastille in Paris, Eastman School of Music, Boston University, Berlin
University of the Arts, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Japan Double
Bass seminar, Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Taipei University of the
Arts, Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and Shanghai Conservatory in
China, among many. During the summer, she has served as a faculty member at
the Bowdoin Music Festival in Maine, Montreal Chamber Music Festival,
Japanese Double Bass Seminar, and Taiwan Gala Summer Festival.
As a chamber
musician, Wei has collaborated with artists such as Leon Fleisher, James
Buswell, and James Ehnes. Her orchestra experience includes serving as
principal bassist in the New World Symphony Orchestra (FL) under Michael
Tilson Thomas, the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and the
Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra in Boston. Wei has collaborated with pianist
Chaoi Chou over 30 years. Together they have recorded the Chinese violin
concerto “Butterfly Lovers” and Brahms 1st Cello Sonata (Centaur
Records), and Wei’s transcription on the Elgar Cello Concerto, Brahms 2nd
Cello Sonata and new works by Yen and Tommasini.
Wei is a recipient
of numerous honors and awards, honors including Awards to Louisiana Artists
and Scholars from the Louisiana Board of Regents, the LSU Tiger Athlete
Foundation Teaching Award, Taiwan Young Concert Artist Competition, both the
2nd Prize and Audience prize in the First Izuminomori
International Double Bass/Cello Competition in Japan, the New World Symphony
Concerto Competition, the Interlochen Arts Academy Concerto Competition on
piano for two consecutive years, the Academy’s Young Artist and Fine Arts
Award, and first prize in the Taiwan National Music Competition.
A native of
Taiwan, Wei began playing the piano at age six and the bass at age
twelve. She received her Master of Music degree with honors from the New
England Conservatory in Boston and her Bachelor of Music degree with a
Performance Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Her teachers
include James VanDemark, Lawrence Wolfe, Stuart Sankey, Jeff Turner, Derek
Weller, Peter Dominguez and Claudia Chen. Wei is currently the Professor of
Bass at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and has been since
2000. She also serves as the artistic director of the annual Louisiana Bass
Fest and teaches at the Master Players Festival in the University of
Delaware during the summer. She was a juror at the International Society of
Bassists Solo Competitions. Her students have been prize winners of
international solo competitions.
Wei’s recording of the Chinese violin concerto “Butterfly Lovers” and Brahms 1st Cello Sonata is available on Centaur Records. Her transcription on the Elgar Cello Concerto, Brahms 2nd Cello Sonata and new works by Yen and Tommasini is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and sheet music plus.
Yung-chiao Wei, double bass
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall December 5, 2003
Bass players with great technique and supreme artistry are non-existent. Well, there are a few exceptions: the legendary Gary Karr, of course, Eugene Levinson of the New York Philharmonic, and now Yung-chiao Wei, a young, multitalented female bassist from Taiwan. Wei is a phenomenon. She began playing the piano at age six and the double bass at twelve, and has excelled at both, having won the 2003 Taiwan Young Concert Artist Competition, the second prize (no first prize was awarded) and Audience Prize in the 2001 Izuminomori International Double Bass/Cello Competition in Japan, The New World Symphony Concerto Competition. Yung-chiao Wei has appeared at major concert halls around the world including Carnegie Hall, Davis Hall, Jordan Hall, the Isabella Stewart Garden Museum, Ozawa Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, The National Concert Hall of Taiwan and Izuminomori Hall in Japan. Her teachers include James Vandemark, Lawrence Wolfe, Stuart Sankey, Jeff Turner, Derek Weller and Claudia Chen.
She chose difficult repertoire for her December recital. She opened with Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, Op. 47, originally for cello, and she played with an extraordinarily expressive, solid tone with impeccable intonation. In Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata in A minor, Wei, along with her excellent pianist, Vivian Chang-Freiheit, produced very delicate, fine phrasing, always singing lines knowing full aware that Schubert is the master lieder composer. The second movement flowed with a genuine serenity, and the Allegretto was the epitome of effervescent charm. Nuance on the double bass is hard to accomplish, but Wei plays with subtlety of dynamics, color and expression one seldom, if ever, hears on the bass.
After intermission, Wei chose a marvelous unaccompanied contemporary work by David Ellis (b. 1933). The work is fairly brief, but Ellis develops his ideas with solid craftsmanship in a short period of time. She played the work with utter assurance and conviction, and the audience was enamored. The following short works were Chinese National folk melodies by Yan-jun Hua and Pao-yuan Chuang with titles: Reflection of the Moon on Lake Erquan and Song of Grassland. Wei shifted positions with ease and eloquence, singing passionately with her instrument every step of the way. These works had a common modality and mood, however, and performing them back to back on the program wasn’t the best idea. Bottesini’s Nel cor piu non mi sento, Op. 23, which followed, made up for that slight flaw, as she played the work effortlessly in the Italian bel canto style; in other words, she played as if she was on an operatic stage, singing a free, heart-felt Bellini aria. Paganini’s Variations on One String (on a theme from Moses in Egypt) was breathtaking in its virtuosity, yet Wei, with all her impressive technical abilities, still found time to make the music breathe. The fiendishly difficult harmonics in the upper range were pure and in tune; stellar one-string, stunt-like playing on such a notably cumbersome instrument is nothing short of miraculous. Catch Wei in concert soon, before Barnum and Bailey sign her to a contract.
New York Concert Review Inc. Spring 2004
|2013 Artist Statement|
was brought up to be a pianist. I started to play the piano since I was 6
years old, enrolled in a gifted music program in Taiwan since 3rd
grade, majoring in piano with flute as a minor. It is not until middle
school that I started to be fascinated by the double bass. At the age of
16, I persuaded my parents to send me to the United States to pursue my
musical studies. That was when I left my family to live and study in a
foreign country because I dreamt to be a musician.
has not been an easy path for me. I have an unusual physical disadvantage
that was the cause of my endless pain and struggle. I was born with
abnormal hands; thumbs and little fingers are only half the size of normal
hands. I don’t even have real knuckles on my little fingers. In other
words, my little fingers are only for decoration, not useful to musicians.
Still, there has never been doubt in my mind that I am destined to be a
spent two years at the Interlochen Arts Academy. There I enjoyed spending
endless hours practicing both piano and bass, won the concerto competition
on the piano two consecutive years playing the Chopin and Liszt Piano
Concertos, won Young Artist Award (the highest honor at the Academy), was
a salutatorian and gave a graduation speech in front of thousands of
people. I gave the graduation speech and then performed on the bass so I
could express things that couldn’t be said in words.
graduation from Interlochen, I decided to focus on the bass. The reason is
simple. With my abnormal hands, playing an octave on the piano was almost
impossible. In my heart, it does not matter which instrument I choose as
long as I can connect music to my inner self.
received my Master of Music degree with honors from the New England
Conservatory in Boston and my Bachelor of Music degree with a Performance
Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. I was fortunate to be the
first bassist awarded such a certificate in twenty years. Prior to arrival
at the LSU School of Music, I had opportunities to perform, record, and
tour with virtuosi ensembles such as the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra,
and the New World Symphony, in prestigious summer festivals such as the
Aspen Summer Festival, the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Spoleto Music
Festival (Italy), and the Pacific Music Festival (Japan). At the age
of 27, I joined the LSU School of Music faculty (2000) and started my
endless passion in teaching and performing. I was awarded my tenure in
highlights of my career include my Carnegie Hall debut (2003), release of
my first CD (2008) and my performance as the International Society of
Bassists Convention headliner in the Eastman School of Music (2013).
I am the first and only female bassist to perform a solo recital in
the Carnegie Hall. My Carnegie Hall debut drew high praises from the New
York Concert Review Inc. Critic Anthony Aibel, who cited “Wei is a
phenomenon…Bass Players with great technique and supreme artistry are
non-existent. Well, there are a few exceptions: the legendary Gary Karr,
of course, Eugene Levinson of the New York Philharmonic, and now
Yung-Chiao Wei, a young, multi-talented female bassist from Taiwan”. My
performance of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata in A minor elicited another
mention “Nuance on the double bass is hard to accomplish, but Wei plays
with subtlety of dynamics, color and expression one seldom, if ever, hears
on the bass”.
my career, I have performed in major concert halls including the Carnegie
Hall, Davis Hall, Jordan Hall, Lincoln Center Alice Tully Hall, National
Concert Hall (Taiwan), Izuminomori Hall (Japan). Also, I have given master
classes/recitals in major bass organizations and top music schools in four
continents, including the 2012 European Bass Convention in Copenhagen
Opera House, the 2010 European Bass Convention in Berlin University of the
Arts, Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Japan Bass Seminar, and several
Asia concert tours. My first CD was released on Centaur Records in 2008,
featuring my own transcription of the Chinese Violin Concerto “Butterfly
Lovers” and the Brahms Cello Sonata in e minor. Since my recording was
released, I have attracted composers to compose new works for me and to
perform their works in the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, Malaysia,
major conservatories in China, and U.S. and Europe.
the past 13 years at LSU, I have recruited students from around the world,
including past competition winners and professional orchestra members.
My students’ achievements include winning auditions such as
tenured Principal Bassist and Assistant Principal Bassist in the Baton
Rouge Symphony and the Acadiana Symphony; Assistant Principal Bassist of
the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. My undergraduate students have gone
to prestigious music schools and received full scholarships in the
Julliard School, Yale University, Eastman School of Music and Cincinnati
Conservatory. One of my former students, Yu-ling Lee, has been an adjunct
instructor at the Cincinnati Conservatory.
I am proud of their accomplishments that some have earned
distinguished performing opportunities with the New York String Orchestra
in the Carnegie Hall. Another former student, Fabio Garboggini founded the
Brava Orchestra, an youth orchestra in Brazil, with a mission to bring
music to the poor. Myles Weeks just released an album of his own composition and
is inspired to play with a big heart all the time. Wen Yang is the
Executive Director at New York Baroque Incorporated. John Madere released
a CD of his own composition and is an adjunct instructor in the
Southeastern Louisiana University. He
also performed in BRSO Chamber Player’s recording of Weill/Ibert/Berg. The producer of that recording, Dan Merceruio, was nominated
for the Grammy Award’s “Classical Producer of the Year”.
the numerous honors I have received, the most prominent ones include the
LSU Tiger Athlete Foundation Teaching Award (2006), winner of the Taiwan
Young Concert Artist Competition (2003), the 2nd
Prize, as well as Audience Prize, in the Izuminomori International Double
Bass/Cello Competition in Japan (2001). These international competitions
provided monetary award and performance opportunity. I have also been
awarded grants from the Office of Research at LSU to support the
production of my 1st
CD and traveling to international concerts and conventions: Council
on Research (CoR) Summer Research Stipend (2005), Faculty Travel Program
Grant (2005) (2008) (2011) (2012).
am enthusiastic on transcribing new and challenging works for the double
bass, exploring creative teaching/playing method, involvement in the local
music associations, and organizing bass events at LSU to promote bass
performance and create performing opportunity for students.
Currently, I serve as the String Chair of the Louisiana Music
Teacher Association, as well as the String Tournament Chair of the Baton
Rouge Music Teacher Association. Furthermore,
I founded and presided over the annual Louisiana Bass Fest at LSU and
performed for people in less fortunate places such as hospitals, prisons
and for mentally challenged children’s place in Taiwan and Baton Rouge.
I believe the power of music and feel strongly and necessarily to bringing
musical performance to our community. Because music makes me alive, I hope
to bring a life-changing musical experience to others.
Brahms: Cello Sonata; Gang:
Violin Concerto "Butterfly Lovers" / Yung-chiao
Wei, Chao-I Chou
CD / Centaur / 2008-06-01
Genre: Classical: Contemporary, Release Date: 2016
Bassist Yung-chiao Wei performs her transcription of Elgar Cello Concerto, Brahms Cello Sonata in F, and new works from award winning composers Yen and Tommasini in order to bring color and imagination on the double bass.
Accompaniment, Double Bass - Advanced