Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adios Nonino - Wu Lung-Yung

Now I understand. Today's featured video of Wu Lung-Yung (he also goes by the name, Mark Wu) playing Nestor Marconi's solo bandoneón arrangement of Adios Nonino helps explain why Mr. Wu won the contest at Klingenthal rather than Mr. Hayakawa (featured in this blog last month).

Since I began writing this blog I have "met" many musicians whose musical lives have been changed after discovering the music of Astor Piazzolla but few have pursued the music as aggressively as Mr. Wu. During his senior year as a flute student at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan he was introduced to the music of Piazzolla. Within a year of his graduation, the flute was back in its case and Mark Wu was on his way to Argentina to learn to play the bandoneón. He somehow managed to arrange to study with one of the most respected bandoneón players in the world, Walter Ríos.  He continued studies on his own when he returned to Taiwan, supplemented by lessons via Skype with Mr. Ríos. To progress from never having touched a bandoneón to the performer we see in today's video in less than five years seems hardly possible. His technique is flawless but more impressive is his phrasing, his ornamentation and the emotion he brings to the music.  He sounds like an Argentine master who grew up with the instrument. The four videos of his contest performances, which you can see here, are admittedly a small sample but they do suggest that he is among the best bandoneónist in the world and was a deserving winner at Klingenthal.

Wu's win at Kingenthal was reported in the Taiwan press but most citizens of Taiwan probably found out about his win from his appearance on the popular Saturday night CTV program,  你猜你猜你猜猜猜, which translates roughly as "You guess, you guess, you guess guess guess."  You can see the show here: part one and part two. Without language capability, the show will remain a mystery to me but at least Wu is getting his ten minutes of fame although he does, at times, appear a bit uncomfortable with the animated people surrounding him. At the end of part 2, you get to see a little more of the "real" Mark Wu including a photo of Wu with Walter Ríos at the 5'20" point of video. You can also see Wu playing with the ensemble, Mr. Tango Quartet, in videos here.

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