B i o g r a p h y
Muen Vanessa Wei, a native of China, has performed internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral pianist, and jazz pianist. She has been applauded by critics for her “delicate playing” and “admirable virtuosic skills”(The News-Gazette). She has appeared as a guest soloist under the baton of Ian Hobson, Donald Schleicher, and Xiaoying Zheng. As a chamber musician, Wei has collaborated with great musicians, such as Lynn Harrell, Henry Gronnior, Henry Hutchinson, Peter Lloyd, Ko Iwasaki and Joel Smirnoff, among others. She joined the Astralis Ensemble in 2018 and performed with them across the United States. Wei also performed in many prestigious festivals, such as the Gilmore Keyboard Festival and the Montecito International Music Festival. In July 2017, she was invited to give a solo recital at the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the US State Department.
In 2019, Wei released her debut Album “Im 3/4 Takt,” which was considered “one of Centaur’s finest releases to date” (Fanfare). American Record Guide described her playing in the recording: “her technique is remarkable, some of the playing is almost demonic, and everything is superb.”
Wei’s musicianship has been recognized in many competitions, including the Anton Rubinstein International Competition, Seattle International Competition, International Music Competition Paris Grand Prize Virtuoso, Artist Presentation Society Competition, Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in New York, China Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in Beijing, the UI Symphony Concerto Competition and Sinfonia da Camera Concerto Competition. She was the recipient of University Fellowship from University of Illinois in 2012, and the Montecito International Music Festival Fellowship from 2013-2015.
Wei received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the China Conservatory. In 2012, she received her Masters of Music Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Daniel Shapiro, with the honor of the Dr. Joseph and Bess Scharff Leven Prize in Piano. She earned her DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, under the instruction of Ian Hobson. Dr. Wei joined the faculty at Lee University as Assistant Professor in Piano in 2021.