The five-star Chinese pianist we’ve never heard of

She’s a legend in France, with a best-selling biography and packed recitals – whenever she cares to give them. But outside France, where she has lived for 30 years, Zhu Xiao-Mei is a shadowy, enigmatic figure, seldom heard and recognised by very few.

Zhu Xiao-Mei only plays the summits of the western repertoire. Her performance of Bach’s Art of the Fugue, newly out on Accentus, exists philosophically in a world of its own. It is my five-star Album of the Week on Click here.


We understand that she is planning a return to China in the coming season, the first since she left in 1980.

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  • Excellent recordings of Goldberg Variations, Wohltemperiertes Klavier et al. – and her book “The Secret Piano” (as audiobook) are available on iTunes.

  • Speak for yourself! I’ve heard of her, she’s part of that famous gang of Chinese artists and intellectuals who’ve chosen the French Republic over the People’s Republic.
    Her Well-Tempered Klav and recordings of Mozart are on Mirare and have been available in the UK for some time, fab stuff! Good on you to give her more attention though.

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