Born in New York in 1982, Cynthia Lee Wong has attracted international acclaim for her “shamelessly beautiful” music and devotion toward "not only the avant-garde audience, but all classical enthusiasts or indeed all music lovers" (Süddeutsche Zeitung). Ms. Wong's creative output encompasses a range of genres, including works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance, voice, narrator, and piano improvisation. Her compositions have received praise for their “sheer, oscillating textures” (The New York Times), “elegant and communicative” grace (Il Giornale di Vicenza), “shimmer[y], delicate porcelain sound” (Münchner Merkur), “impressive energy and drive” (The Boston Globe), “extravagant variety of sound” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), and “unsettling...dark, eerie...highly individual sound universe” (The San Diego Union-Tribune).

Ms. Wong grew up in Massachusetts, where she began studying composition at age eight. As a pianist-composer, she traveled extensively, playing her music in Russia, Canada, and Spain, while absorbing a variety of international influences. She focused on composing piano and orchestral works, including two piano concertos, the second of which she premiered with the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic.

Ms. Wong later moved to New York to attend the Juilliard School. She performed her music in France and Germany, and received premieres of Fates and Furies (2003) by the Juilliard Orchestra and Stages (2004) by New Juilliard Ensemble. Her Fugato (2001) was recorded on Lilia Boyadjieva's “Around the Fugue” CD on Naxos. Ms. Wong also collaborated with choreographer Sebastian Gehrke on Low, Livid, Lucid in 2003.

In 2005, her composing career was launched with the premiere of Three Portraits by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, Germany. Immediately following the premiere, another commission was offered, leading to the premiere of On Baldness and Other Songs in 2007. Since then, she has received commissions from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which premiered her work Memoriam (2011) at Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall. She has also worked with professional ensembles, such as the Tokyo String Quartet and the Orchestra del Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. Among her commissioned chamber works are the Piano Quartet (2010), String Quartet no. 1 (2009), and Gernika (2008).

Her music awards include a 2010 Orpheus Project 440 commission; the 2008 and 2001 ASCAP Awards; the 2008 Robert Starer Composition Award from the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the 2005 International Zemlinksy Composition Competition Third Prize; the 2004 Joseph Bearns Prize from Columbia University; composition and piano duo awards from the Composers League of St. Petersburg, Russia; first prize from the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts; ARTS awards from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts; and top honors from the Russian-American Music Association.

Ms. Wong is a graduate of the accelerated 5-year Bachelor-Master program at the Juilliard School. She studied composition with David Del Tredici, Samuel Adler, Milton Babbitt, David Olan, and Larry Thomas Bell, as well as piano with Tatyana Dudochkin, Frank Levy, and Martin Canin. From 2006-2008, she taught music theory and composition at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and from 2008-2011, she was faculty member at Baruch College. Ms. Wong is a Ph.D. Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

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Biography

Photography by George J. Kunze.

C y n t h i a  L e e  W o n g

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