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SMU Meadows Assistant Professor Xi Wang Wins Charles Ives Fellowship from American Academy of Arts and Letters

Xi Wang, assistant professor of composition and theory at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, is one of two national recipients of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The $15,000 award is presented annually to “two composers of exceptional gifts.” Xi Wang will receive the award at the academy’s annual ceremony in May in New York City.

Founded in 1898, the academy honors more than 50 composers, artists, architects and writers every year with cash awards ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. The Ives Fellowship was established by Harmony Ives, widow of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Charles Ives; she bequeathed the royalties from her husband’s music to the academy to be used for scholarships for young composers. Six scholarships of $7,500 and two fellowships of $15,000 are given annually. Composers do not apply directly for the awards and have no idea they are even under consideration. Instead, they are nominated by a member of the academy, then voted on by a select committee.

“I am thankful and honored to receive this prestigious fellowship,” said Xi Wang. “I came to the U.S. as a graduate student 10 years ago, with two suitcases, my embarrassing English and a dream. My life experience has given me a firm belief in the value of diligent work. I am so thankful for all the support and encouragement I have received from my mentors, colleagues and friends. And I am very proud to be part of the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU.”

Xi Wang joined the SMU faculty in 2009 and teaches composition and music theory. She has received commissions from the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic and Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, among others. Her music has been performed by the American Composers Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, Atlanta, Spokane and other cities, as well as by notable ensembles and soloists including cellist Andrés Díaz, the American Modern Ensemble, the Eastman String Quartet, Voices of Change and the Soli Ensemble. She has received awards from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Music Center and ASCAP. She won a MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2011, and has also received fellowships from the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Music 04, Oregon Bach Music Festival, Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East, and the Hinrichsen Foundation.

“Xi Wang is a wonderful composer and also a terrific teacher,” said José Bowen, dean of the Meadows School. “She thoroughly deserves this award and we could not be more pleased for her. It is significant to have a rising star like Wang at SMU, but it is also important for Dallas. She is doing excellent work with local organizations, who are delighted for the opportunity to collaborate with a composer of her caliber, and her increasing national and international recognition also reflects well on both the University and our city.”

Xi Wang earned a B.M. in composition from Shanghai Conservatory in China, M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and D.M.A. from Cornell University. For more information about Xi Wang and her music, visit

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