Johnny Wang '17 started playing piano at the age of five, attending lessons after school at Tianmu Elementary School in Taipei.
"One of my fondest memories was getting a warm ovation after performing my first recital in kindergarten. I was surprised because I messed it up so badly," he says.
The ovation was a sign of further success that would be less surprising. While Wang plans to major in chemistry or neuroscience, last fall he won the 2013 Pomona College Orchestra Concerto Competition and is the featured pianist alongside the orchestra on Fri., Feb. 28, and Sun., March 2, with Prof. of Music Eric Lindholm conducting. On the program are Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, William Appleton's ('14) Expanding Grounds and Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps.
Wang was born into a non-musical family but his interest was keen and passion evident as he went on to study the violin and flute. He served as the assistant concertmaster of the Tianmu Junior High School string orchestra, which captured first place in a national competition in Taiwan. After immigrating to the United States in eighth grade, he enrolled in a junior high school without an orchestra program, so he participated in the band as a flautist.
In high school, Wang joined the competitive Diamond Bar High School Symphony Orchestra, and as concertmaster he worked with renowned conductors such as Larry Livingston of the University of Southern California. With the orchestra, Wang won the Best High String Soloist Award at the 2013 National School Orchestra Championships in New York and participated in numerous honor orchestras and competitions.
All of this experience burnished Wang to shine brightly as a freshman. He is currently studying with Pomona Prof. of Music Genevieve Lee and lecturer Ming Tsu.
"We get strong entrants in the concerto competition every year, but Johnny stood out for the confidence and polish of his performance. It is a real showpiece and he captures the spirit brilliantly," says Lindholm.
The concerts are free and will be held at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, in Bridges Hall of Music (Pomona College, 150 E. Fourth St., Claremont). For more information, contact: (909) 607-2671 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.music.pomona.edu.