Hanzi Wang takes the accordion into the stratosophere in classical music

(Matt Dine) Hanzi Wang

GREAT BARRINGTON — Accordions have long been associated with the hop-step-close-step dance patterns of folk and polka music, but a Chinese musician sees much more potential in the instrument. And this week, locals will have a chance to listen for themselves.
Hanzi Wang, a native of Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai, has been playing the accordion since she was 6 years old. She was inspired to play after seeing an Italian movie with her father that featured classical music, including that of an instrument she’d never heard before, Wang recalled.
“I had never heard something so beautiful,” she said.
Wang’s affinity for the accordion has taken her all over the world. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the China Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a master’s degree from the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen. Wang also now serves as an assistant teacher at the academy.
She earned first place honors at the 40th Castelfidardo International Accordion Competition in Italy. Last year, Musical America, a New Jersey-based magazine dedicated to classical music that’s been in existence since 1898, named Wang the “New Artists of the Month.” Tennessee-based Naxos of America released its first-ever solo accordion CD — Wang’s “On the Path to H.C. Anderson,” which features music by Danish composers, including “The Little Match Girl,” written for her by Martin Lohse. Composers James Black and Sophia Gubaidulina have also written and dedicated works to her.

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