February 13 and 14, 2023
With the “pure poetry” of his playing (Seen and Heard International), pianist Derek Wang is drawing increasing acclaim from audiences and critics alike in wide-ranging appearances as soloist, collaborator, and communicator.
A uniquely committed proponent of the original works and virtuosic transcriptions of Franz Liszt, Derek was awarded second prize at the 12th Liszt Utrecht competition in the Netherlands in September 2022. His final round performance with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic conducted by Christian Reif was hailed as “spectacular” by de Volkskrant. The prize, which includes three years of concert management, follows on the heels of first prize at the inaugural New York International Liszt Competition in 2021, for which he was awarded an all-Liszt debut recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
In the summer of 2022, while in residence at the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, Derek distinguished himself as “an A-list colleague in chamber music” (The Aspen Times) with the festival’s faculty members and guest artists, including violinists Alexander Kerr and Robert McDuffie, a frequent recital partner. He returned to the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy with Mr. McDuffie and appeared at the Moab Music Festival in Utah with pianist Michael Barrett.
Deeply experienced in contemporary music, Derek held a three-summer-long fellowship position as pianist of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music Festival under conductors Donald Crockett and Timothy Weiss, giving weekly performances of both canonical and lesser-known works of the 20th and 21st centuries in addition to premiering works by the festival’s composition fellows. Derek’s membership in the ensemble was capped with a performance as soloist in Unsuk Chin’s Double Concerto for Piano and Percussion alongside Colin McCall, percussion, and under the baton of Maurice Cohn. He has also appeared as soloist with the AXIOM Ensemble at The Juilliard School, conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky, in works of John Adams (Grand Pianola Music) and Elliott Carter (Double Concerto for Piano and Harpsichord), in both instances with pianist Tengku Irfan.
Derek is widely praised for his ability to speak about music to audiences of all kinds, and in formats ranging from traditional pre-concert talks to podcasts and other digital media. Derek appeared on National Public Radio’s hit Tiny Desk online video series as emcee and accompanist for From the Top, America’s leading showcase for young musicians, in 2018. In 2020, Derek partnered with violinist Sophia Stoyanovich to launch American Stories, a podcast series that examines and celebrates American identity through music in performance, illuminated by personal histories and reflections from featured guests of all walks of life. The latest episode, released in May 2021 and available at www.american-stories.org, features John Adams’ Road Movies alongside stories of life on the road. American Stories was awarded an Ensemble Forward grant from Chamber Music America. Most recently, Sophia and Derek have brought the podcast’s vibrant synergy of storytelling and music to recital programs given in Encinitas and Los Angeles, California in 2021, and in Chicago for the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in 2022.
In a multimedia collaboration between animation and music, Derek has performed the études of Chopin live as a synchronized soundtrack to the short film collection Magic Piano and The Chopin Shorts, produced by Academy Award winner Hugh Welchman. He has brought the family-friendly immersive concert experience to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for its 2012 premiere, to the Dallas Opera House, and on two tours of China that spanned nine cities. He has also performed and discussed the films’ impact on young audiences as a guest speaker at the EG conference in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and at the La Ciudad de Las Ideas conference in Puebla, Mexico.
Derek holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Juilliard, where he received a Kovner Fellowship and the Peter Mennin and Joseph W. Polisi Commencement Prizes. His principal teachers at Juilliard were Stephen Hough, Yoheved Kaplinsky, and Matti Raekallio. He continues studies at the Yale School of Music as an Artist Diploma candidate in the studio of Boris Slutsky.
Derek grew up near Boston and spends his time between practice sessions going bird-watching, following baseball, and reading Shakespeare. For more information and the latest concert schedule, please visit www.derek-wang.com.