Born into a musical family in Beijing, Wu Tong has become one of the most visible proponents of traditional Chinese music of his generation. As both vocalist and virtuoso of traditional wind instruments, he has achieved an unparalleled following for Chinese music on four continents. Wu began his musical studies at age 5 with the father and soon won dozens of national and international competitions in the wind instrument category. He entered the Central Conservatory of Music’s pre-college program at age 11, and upon graduation from Central Conservatory at age 19 became the youngest soloist of the China Central Traditional Music and Dance Company, which toured throughout China and abroad.

In 1991, Wu and four Central Conservatory classmates founded Lunhui, merging the energy of rock music with traditional Chinese form and aesthetics. Their 1993 hit On the Way to Wartime Yangzhou, setting the words of Song Dynasty poet Xin Qiji to original music, quickly garnered a record contract with JVC Japan. Lunhui soon became China’s premier rock band both in record sales and live performances, and in 2000 became the first rock band to appear on Chinese Central Television. They were featured regularly on national broadcasts before disbanding three years later.

In 2000, Wu also met Yo-Yo Ma at Tanglewood and was invited to join the Silk Road Ensemble. Featured as both vocalist and instrumentalist on the Ensemble’s first recording, When Strangers Meet (2001) he has appeared on their recordings ever since. His collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma on “Kuai Le,” included in Yo-Yo Ma and Friends: Songs of Joy and Peace, won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album.

As a concerto soloist, Wu has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, among others. In November 2013 Wu joined Yo-Yo Ma in the world premiere of Duo, a double concerto written for them by the Chinese composer Zhao Lin. The two performed Duo in its U.S. premiere in February 2015, at the New York Philharmonic’s Chinese New Year Gala Concert.

In 2008, Wu made his stage debut with the San Francisco Opera playing multiple roles in The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Stewart Wallace and Amy Tan. That same year, he co-wrote the musical score for Ashes of Time Redux, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. His 2011 solo album was nominated for Taiwan’s Golden Melody Award for Best Crossover Album, and he was named 2012 Musician of the Year by New York’s China Institute.