Photo credit: Deirdre Confar
Wang Lu Bio
Composer and pianist Wang Lu writes music that reflects a very natural identification
with influences from urban environmental sounds, linguistic intonation and contours,
traditional Chinese music and freely improvised practices, through the prism of
contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities.
She is an Associate Professor of Music at Brown University, after receiving her doctoral
degree in composition at Columbia University and graduating from the Beijing Central
Conservatory of Music. Wang Lu’s works have been performed internationally, by
ensembles including the Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble
Recherche, Ensemble Mosaik, the Tapiola Sinfoniatta, The Phoenix Ensemble, the New
York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNOW, Minnesota Orchestra,
Boston Lyric Opera, American Composers Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille,
Holland Symfonia, Shanghai National Chinese Orchestra, Musiques Nouvelles, Le
Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, International Contemporary Ensemble, Talea Ensemble,
Seattle Modern Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Dal Niente, Third Sound,
Yarn/Wire, Curious Chamber Players, The Crossing Choir, Ensemble Pamplemousse,
Argento, the Aizuri Quartet, the New York Virtuoso Singers, Momenta Quartet and
violinists Miranda Cuckson, Jennifer Koh, flutist Claire Chase, pianist Jacob Greenberg,
Shai Wosner, Ning Yu and Joel Fan among others.
Wang Lu has received the Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond award from American Academy
of Arts and Letters (2020), the Berlin Prize in Music Composition (Spring 2019
residency) and was a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, commissions from the Koussevitzky
Foundation at the Library of Congress and the Fromm Foundation at Harvard. She won
first prize at Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s Young Composers Forum in 2010 and
shared the Tactus International Young Composers Orchestra Forum Award in 2008.
She was selected for a Tremplin commission by IRCAM/Ensemble Intercontemporain in
2010 and the International Composition Seminar with the Ensemble Modern in 2012.
She has also received two ASCAP Morton Gould awards, commission from the National
Endowment for the Arts, The Barlow Foundation, New Music USA and the Alice M.
Ditson Fund at Columbia University.
Wang Lu’s music was programmed on festivals such as the 2023 Musical Nova in
Finland, 2022 New York Philharmonic’s Sound On series curated by Nadia Sirota, 2014
New York Philharmonic Biennial, MATA Festival, Cresc. Biennale in Frankfurt,
Gaudeamus Music Week, Tanglewood, Cabrillo Music Festival, Beijing Modern, Pacific
and Takefu festivals in Japan, Mostly Mozart, Aspekte Festival in Salzburg, Mizzou
International Composers Festival, and the Havana New Music Festival. She has also
been a resident at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Yaddo, MacDowell and Hermitage
Artist Retreat. Collaborations have included an installation at Brown University’s Cohen
Gallery with artist Polly Apfelbaum and an evening of poetry and music with poet Ocean
Vuong. In 2019, her music was featured on portrait concerts at Miller Theater with ICE
and Yarn/Wire, with Ensemble Recherche in Paris, and with Ensemble Mosaik plus
soloists Ryan Muncy and Wu Wei in Berlin. In 2021, her projects include Aftertouch a
flute electronic and video piece for Claire Chase’s Density 2036; a solo piano work
Lacuna for Shai Wosner in honor of Chinese American architect I.M. Pei; a new work for
the LongLeash trio supported by New Music USA; November Airs for the Talea
Ensemble commissioned by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University; At Which
Point a choir and electronic work for The Crossing, and episode V of TV opera desert in,
produced by the Boston Lyric Opera.
Wang Lu was the Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer at the Chicago Opera Theatre
(2020-22). Her full-length chamber opera The Beekeeper in collaboration with librettist
Kelley Rourke was concert premiered at Chicago’s Athenaeum Center in March 2021.
In 2022-23 season her projects include a new orchestra work Surge commissioned by
the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation for the New York Philharmonic (Jan. 2023), with
following performances by the Cincinnati Symphony, Aspen Music Festival, Des Moines
Symphonny and Pensacola Symphony Orchestra; A large ensemble work
commissioned by the Barlow Foundation for the Seattle Modern Orchestra (Jun. 2023),
a large ensemble work commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts for
Chicago based Ensemble Dal Niente, and a new string quartet Motion for the Parker
Quartet and a piano quintet for the Danish Quartet and pianist Saleem Abboud Ashkar .
Other international ensembles performing Wang Lu’s compositions this season also
include: Ensemble Sillages in France, Phoenix Ensemble in Basel Switzerland, Tapiola
Sinfonietta, in Finland, Jennifer Koh at Phoenix Symphony’s new music festival
From 2022-23, Wang Lu is a mentor at Luna Composition Lab that provides mentorship,
education, and resources for young female, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming
composers ages 13-18. She will be teaching at Yarn/Wire Institute and Music on the
Point in summer 2023.
Of her portrait album Urban Inventory, released in March 2018, Alex Ross wrote in the
New Yorker, “I’ve listened at least a dozen times to the composer Wang Lu’s new
album, “Urban Inventory” (New Focus Recordings), and remain happily lost in its riotous
maze of ideas and images. Every moment is vividly etched, drenched in instrumental
color, steeped in influences that range from ancient Chinese folk music to the latest
detonations of the European avant-garde… The sense of loneliness that emerges at the
end of “Cloud Intimacy” lurks behind all of Wang Lu’s meticulous frenzies: it is of a piece
with the essential solitude of composing, of sitting in silence and dreaming of a music
that has never been heard.”