Young pianist Di Wu returns to Columbus to play George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm Variations” and “Piano Concerto No. 1” by Franz Liszt with the Columbus Philharmonic conducted by David Bowden
When Wu talks about the development of a career, she compares herself to a technology start-up company. “They have an idea that they embrace and develop. They have to pitch for investors and they have to pitch for people to believe in them and their idea. We musicians are not pitching an idea, we’re pitching ourselves, but it’s the same concept.”
‘Like them we really have to be persistent and also believe in ourselves and understand that failure will be often, but that’s the only way that you can learn and grow, the only way that you can proceed. “
One of the ways in which Di Wu has proceeded is through competitions. “Yes, “she says. “I see the competition as a learning experience because it’s always good to have such a pressure situation where you’re required to play at the best level possible in front of an audience. You go in hoping to do your best and hoping maybe you will take off. It’s a gamble as opposed to a more solid approach.”
At one of the competitions the gamble paid off. Wu played a competition in Hilton Head and someone from Columbus was there to hear her. Howard Lickerman, who’d long been associated with the Philharmonic, was very impressed. “He called me and said you’ve got to hear this young pianist,” says the orchestra’s artistic director and conductor David Bowden. “I got in touch with her and that’s how it all started here.” Wu is coming back to Columbus for the fourth time and she’s played with Bowden in Terre Haute on three occasions.
Although Wu now has someone helping her with details of a busy schedule, she’s still very much an independent person. When she looks back she says, “When things are not happening exactly as you wish, what do you do? Do you wait for things to happen or do you make things happen? I decided to make things happen.”
The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s concert on September 21 at 7:30 in Erne Auditorium also includes music of Corigliano, Saint-Saëns, and Ravel.