Mei produced a reading [of Bartok’s Viola Concerto at the 2018 ARD competition] that was clear-sighted, outgoing and thoroughly enjoyable. As he had shown in the commissioned piece, he is an imaginative interpreter. In his hands the opening theme wandered like a lost soul, full of desolate, keen-edged beauty; elsewhere he delved into the darker, aggressively rhythmic passages with thrilling tenacity. The central Adagio religioso was as sweetly yearning as one could desire and, by the end of the piece, the listener had the impression of a player who might just have that intangible quality of an influential voice, perhaps even a new advocate for the viola.
Chloe Cutts, The Strad, January 2019
Diyang Mei was born in China in 1994 and began playing the violin at the age of five. From 2005 to 2014 he studied the viola with Shaowu Wang in the Central Conservatory of Music Beijing’s Middle School and has since participated in masterclasses given by well-known virtuosi such as Pinchas Zukerman, Nobuko Imai, Roberto Diaz, Paul Coletti, Thomas Riebl, Valentin Erben and Günther Pichler.
As a soloist he has performed with many orchestras including Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Philharmonic Orchestra Bad Reichenhall, Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra, Chursächsiche Philharmonie Bad Elster and Busan Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, among others. As a chamber musician Diyang Mei has performed with the likes of Nicolas Chumachenco, Paul Coletti, Matthias Buchholz, Krzysztof Chorzelski, Wenn-Sinn Yang, Erika Geldsetzer, Martin Ostertag, Dag Jensen, Andrea Lieberknecht and Michael Schäfer.
Among Diyang Mei’s most recent achievements are First Prize and Audience Prize at the 2018 ARD Music Competition for the Viola and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship the same year. These join a roster of previous competition first prizes, including the 52nd Markneukirchen International Instrumental Viola Competition in 2017; 24th Cultural Committee Gasteig Competition for Strings in Munich and International Max Rostal Viola Competition (also special prize for gifted young finalists) in Berlin – both in 2015; the 19th Brahms International Viola Competition Austria, Pila International Music Festival Poland and IVC Young Artist Competition of the 40th International Viola Congress (‘most musical performer’) in Rochester, USA – all in 2012; and the 10th International Viola and Cello Competition, Villa de Llanes, Spain (also Special Award) in 2008.
Since October 2014, Diyang Mei has been studying viola performance under Hariolf Schlichtig at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. In October 2019 he took up responsibility as co-principal violist in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, whilst continuing to study, now at the Kronberg Academy. Diyang Mei currently plays a Wolfgang Scharff viola generously donated by Ms Ingeborg Fahrenkamp-Schäffler.
2018 was really amazing and unforgettable for me. I truly appreciate that I have been chosen by BBT for a fellowship. BBT not only gives me a lot of financial support, but also gives me more confidence and opportunity to grow up. It helps young musicians to find their own way to be real artists. Many thanks to BBT from the bottom of my heart.
Photographs by Simon Weir