“It is always a personal thrill to find a ‘fresh voice’ within the jazz continuum. A Bu is a highly creative and accomplished jazz pianist who is also a gifted composer. I regard him as a promising young jazz lion who has a brilliant career ahead of him and will surely be talked about for many years to come”
– Michel Camilo, GRAMMY® Award-Winning Pianist
Born in Beijing in 1999, A Bu is a Chinese pianist and composer whose career in both classical and jazz continuum is exciting. He is the winner (First Prize and Audience Prize) of the 2015 Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition, the First Prize winner of the 2019 Riga Jazz Stage and the recipient of the 2019 Ruhr Piano Festival Scholarship recommended by Grammy-Award winning jazz pianist Michel Camilo.
At age 13, A Bu was invited by the legendary American jazz pianist Chick Corea to play a duet together at Corea’s solo piano concert in Shanghai. In the same year, A Bu recorded his debut album 88 Tones of Black White in Beijing, engineered by Grammy-Award winning recording engineer Jakob Händel and produced by German audio company Sennheiser.
Before moving to New York in 2014, A Bu was trained at the Central Conservatory of Music, China’s most distinguished music school. In New York, he continued his studies at the Juilliard School studying with pianist Hung-Kuan Chen and graduated in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance. A Bu recorded his second jazz album Butterflies Fly in Pairs in New York’s Avatar Studios in 2015 and his most recent jazz trio album One Step East in 2019, in which he collaborated with leading jazz artists Larry Grenadier on bass and Eric Harland on drums. The album is produced by award-winning jazz producer Matt Pierson who produced artists under labels such as the Blue Note, Warner Bros., and Sony Music.
A Bu has played at many concert venues around the globe including the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (Moscow), Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory (Moscow), L’Olympia (Paris), Foundation Louis Vuitton (Paris), Fazioli Concert Hall (Sacile), Gran Teatro de La Habana (Havana), Shanghai Concert Hall (Shanghai), National Center of Performing Arts (Beijing) as well as the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, Beijing and Shanghai. He has also performed at festivals such as Montreux Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Beijing Music Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Klavier-Festival Ruhr and others.
As a soloist, A Bu has performed with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, “Hermitage” Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Jazz Orchestra, China National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra, Ningbo Symphony Orchestra and others.
As one of China’s most outstanding jazz artists, A Bu has been invited more than five times by the UNESCO and Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz to perform at UNESCO’s International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, collaborating with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller, Kenny Garrett, Igor Butman, Till Brönner, James Morrison, Brian Blade, Ben Williams and many other international jazz icons.
As a composer, A Bu signed to Schott Music in 2022, one of Germany’s oldest music publishing houses (established in 1770) and became the youngest Chinese composer ever signed to the publisher. Following his debut compositions Fantasie “Sleeping in a Dream” Op. 7 and Piano Sonata No. 1 which are now published and recorded by himself, A Bu is anticipated to publish additional solo and chamber works under Schott Music in the coming months. His compositions have been featured on China Daily, the Chinese Global Television Network, the United Nations Chamber Music Society, the Trinity Church Wall Street of New York City and others.
A Bu’s newest solo piano album is released by the German label WERGO. In this album, he recorded his original pieces published under Schott Music and the most well-known pieces by Ukraine-born Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin. As an advocate of Kapustin’s music, A Bu made acquainted with Kapustin in 2014 and remained a close friendship with the composer until Kapustin’s passing in 2020. In addition, A Bu premiered many of the composer’s works and served as the editor of the first Chinese edition of Kapustin’s piano music, published by the Shanghai Publishing House. In September 2022, together with the musicians from the Mannes School of Music and the College of Performing Arts of The New School, A Bu gave the New York Premiere of Kapustin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at the opening concert of the Mannes Sounds Festival 2022-2023 Season.
Currently enrolled at the Mannes School of Music in New York, A Bu is pursuing his master’s degree in piano and composition under the direction of Bulgarian pianist Pavlina Dokovska and American composer Lowell Liebermann. In summer 2023, A Bu is anticipated at many concert venues in China. In addition to performing solo piano recitals, he will perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with numerous orchestras and collaborate with the Blue Note China Jazz Orchestra performing his original music for jazz big band. He is also anticipated to perform Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto Op. 38 with Suzhou Symphony Orchestra in fall 2023.