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SMU Meadows Music Professor Xi Wang to Premiere National Commission Awarded by Pi Kappa Lambda

Valley Rhapsodies, fusing East with West, will be performed by Meadows faculty artists Emanuel Borok, Matt Albert and Andrés Díaz in St. Louis, Oct. 31

SMU's Matt Albert, Emanuel Borok, and Andres Diaz rehearse for the world premier of Xi Wang's Valley Rhapsodies at the national meeting of the College Music Society and Pi Kappa Lambda, St. Louis MO.

Xi Wang

Valley Rhapsodies, a new work by Meadows Associate Professor of Composition/Theory Xi Wang, will receive its world premiere on October 31 in St. Louis at the annual convention of Pi Kappa Lambda (PKL), the national music honor society. The piece is the result of Xi Wang’s win last year of the national PKL Commissioned Music Project competition, which included $2,000 and the commission of a chamber music work.

The new 22-minute work for string trio will be performed by three outstanding Meadows faculty artists: Emanuel Borok, violin; Matt Albert, viola; and Andrés Díaz, cello.

“I am fortunate to know these three spectacular string players and felt compelled to write a trio for them,” said Wang. “When I discussed the idea with Emanuel, he asked, ‘Can you write something with a Chinese folk element? Something beautiful!’ To me, ‘beautiful’ means ‘emotional, true and personal.’ So I combined the sounds of my native China and those of western concert music to create a personal amalgam of Asian and Western points of view.”

Valley Rhapsodies consists of three movements. Each movement starts with Chinese folklore materials, then gradually evolves into more complex harmonies. The first movement captures the echoing effect of antiphonal singing in mountains in rural China. The second movement is a variation on a small village’s folk dancing tune. The third movement is the most intense, encompassing both joy and sadness.

“It has been a great honor to win the Pi Kappa Lambda commission and I am very much looking forward to presenting it this fall with the help of my wonderful SMU colleagues,” said Wang.

Past winners of the prestigious Commissioned Music Project competition have included Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon and Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowship winner Cindy McTee, among others.

Wang earned a B.M. from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, an M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a D.M.A. from Cornell University. She 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 in 2012 received the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. For more information, visit here.

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