Jian Wang: Humanity is the only source of music

Top cellist Jian Wang was taught in China by his father – also a cellist. Today, he travels around the world as a celebrated soloist for the world’s best orchestras. He was also invited to teach the Sibelius Academy cellists within the newly established International Visitor Programme.

Currently Wang doesn’t have a permanent teaching post but he visits different institutions giving master classes to music students.

- As a teacher I always try to make the student aware of what they want - what are they striving for. Without that it is difficult to help them.

Wang has visited Finland several times and appreciates the high level of our students – as well as the new concept of visiting international experts.

- I think the school is very open-minded establishing this kind of cooperation with artists. It can involve people who can really influence the student in a positive way - it takes time for his/her idea to develop and to have some kind of input in the student’s thinking and way of playing.

Music for our hearts and souls

Wang has noticed that the level of musicians has rised and is now higher than ever before. He doesn’t agree with the discussion about the diminishing meaning of western classical music; he doesn’t see it dying.

- It is meant for our hearts and souls and has a spiritual pursuit. It has been checked and tested for hundred of years. The pieces still in the repertoire have stood the test of time – that’s why I like all of them! Music is only alive when you understand humanity, which is the real source of it. It is important for the students to understand that beauty is everywhere.

The biggest joy comes after the biggest pain

Wang tells that he is never really happy with his playing. It is a struggle he says he goes through almost annually.

- I’m very critical to myself and I don’t like listening to my own playing at all. But on the other hand, it’s also a momentum for me to change myself. And I think no professional musician can possibly say that ”this is now perfect”. What is interesting is the process. Self criticism can lead to the darkest moments of our artistic lives but the joy of finding a new approach, a new perspective – that feeling is maybe what keeps us all trying.

Listen to Wang's interview on Soundcloud

More about the international visitor programme

More about string instrument studies