Story Bites

Wang Jie: A Classical Composing Genius

When she was four years old, Wang’s parents arranged for her to study music with composer and pianist, Yang Liqin. By the time she was five years old, she was already a known piano prodigy! 

Since then, Wang has had a deep love for music. Actually, love is an understatement, music is Wang’s life. She has put it before everything else in her life, even before her studies as a child.

From earning prizes and awards, to having her work featured in concerts, Wang’s work has been proven to be exceptional, as her music is often relatable, even tear jerking.

Musical Journey

As a young adult, Wang relocated to the United States, upon being given a scholarship by the Manhattan School of Music in New York. There, she studied composition with composers Nils Vigeland and Richard Danielpour. As a college student, many of her works were performed, including a tragic opera, Nannan, which was showcased by the Contemporary Opera Lab and Wang’s piano trio, Shadow, which was performed by the New Juilliard Ensemble for the Museum of Modern Arts Summergarden concert series.

Giving Credit Where It’s Due

In addition to having her works performed, Wang has won many prizes for them. Even more impressive, she is the first composer to have been awarded the Milton Rock Fellowship prize! She has also received the Northbridge Composition Prize for her work Death of Socrates.

Wang’s accomplishments didn’t stop there. Her work, Symphony No. 1 (Awakening) was featured by the Minnesota Orchestra at the 2010 Future Classics Concert. It was described by fellow classical music composer, John Carigliano, as “gorgeously written”.

Stirred Up Emotions 

On July 20, 2017, at the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Wang created the work It Rained on Shakopee, an opera about a mother in prison, hoping for her daughter to visit her on Mother’s Day. She created this with playwright Zhu Yi, based on their experience during their residency at the Women’s Correctional Facility in Shakopee, Minnesota. Wang took stories and experiences from the inmates to create this piece. A recorded chorus of the inmates from the prison was included in the piece.

Wang created this work in honor of mothers who are incarcerated, likely because these women do not get much acknowledgement, especially on holidays like Mother’s Day. 

As shown, Wang’s work is inspired by strong emotions. In comparison to  It Rained on Shakopee, however, some of her other works were created from a place of joy. Wang created what is known as “The Joy Series” . One addition to the series is her piece called, FIVE FACES OF JOY, released in 2009, about the five common ways to smile. Wang created this piece simply by thinking of smiles. 


As of 2021, Wang continues to compose music, sharing her music through her website

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