Born in 1970, he studied the sheng at the Shanghai Conservatoire and was a soloist with the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra before studying on a DAAD scholarship at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where he is now based.
In addition to many prestigious national and international competitions for traditional Chinese music, he won the Musica Vitale Competition in Germany (1996 and 2002) and the Global Root World Music Prize (2004). In 2011 he won the Herald Angels Award at the Edinburgh International Festival for Composition, playing Unsuk Chin’s Šu – Concerto for Sheng with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra under Myung-Whun Chung.
Since 1996 he has appeared as a soloist with many leading orchestras and ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic under Kent Nagano, Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, BBC Symphony under Ilan Volkov, Radio France Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic under Myung-Whun Chung, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony under Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Munich Symphony, Albany Symphony, Flanders Symphony, Taipei Symphony, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Lübeck Philharmonic, Westfalen New Philharmonic, Pannon Philharmonic, Metropole Orchestra Holland, Brandenburg Symphony, Brandenburg Philharmonic, Ensemble Modern, Nieuw Ensemble, Atlas Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble of the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin, the Luxembourg Sinfonietta, and many others.
He has appeared at the Berliner Festspiele, Munich Biennale, Edinburgh Festival, Donaueschingen Musiktage, Musica Viva in Munich, Dresdener Festspiele, Warsaw Autumn, Suntory Music Festival in Tokyo, Bartók Festival, Archipel in Geneva, Cologne Triennale, Holland Festival, Les Musiques in Marseille, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic and Konzerthaus, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Usher Hall in Edinburgh, and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
His international engagements include appearances throughout the USA, Canada, South America, Europe, Russia, and the Middle and Far East, and he has given the world premieres of more than 150 works (including ten concertos for sheng and orchestra) by composers including John Cage, Unsuk Chin, Toshio Hosokawa, Enjott Schneider, Jörg Widmann, Guus Janssen, Tan Dun, Chen Qigang, Guo Weijing and Ruo Huang.
He is also a prolific composer for sheng. His works have been commissioned notably by Royaumont Foundation (2004), Musica Viva in Munich (2005), Hanse Culture Foundation (2009), Civitella Ranieri Foundation in New York (2010) and the Saxon Culture Foundation (2003, 2005, 2006 and 2011).
Wu Wei is an avant-garde sheng soloist. He has helped to develop this 4000-year-old instrument into an innovative force in contemporary music, through the creation of new techniques, expanding the new repertories and integrating different styles and genres. He plays a modern 37-pipe sheng.