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UofL grad to help score music for 2008 summer Olympics

Time: 2012.02.05      Source: University of Louisville News      Reads:771
A University of Louisville graduate’s music will find an international televised audience as athletes enter China’s immense 100,000-seat Beijing National Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Zhiyi Wang, a 2006 graduate of UofL’s School of Music and former composition student of professor Marc Satterwhite, will assist the music director of the Olympics’ opening ceremonies in composing and orchestrating music for the games.
“I was totally shocked and overwhelmed by excitement,” said Wang upon learning he was tapped for the job. “I never ever imagined that I could write music for the Olympics. It’s really a huge opportunity and stage for me.”

Wang received the assignment after music director Qigang Chen heard a performance of some of the young composer’s music.

“I am the lucky one among innumerable young composers” who were considered for the job, Wang added.

The 27-year-old composer has been on the fast track in Chinese musical circles. After graduating from UofL last year, Wang was appointed composer-in-residence at the Shanghai Opera House. There he has composed and arranged several works. His first major assignment was orchestrating 23 Chinese folk songs.

Wang has moved to Beijing and will work on the Olympic music for more than a year and assist Chen throughout the opening and closing of the games, to be held Aug. 8-24.

While at UofL, Wang was supported in his studies with a two-year Grawemeyer Fellowship. Previously, he attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music and while there won the top prize in the Premio Franz Liszt International Competition for Composers from an Italian association.

“Wang was my student for two years and he’s an excellent young man as well as a very gifted composer,” Satterwhite said. ”He’s hardworking and totally dedicated to what he does. The classical training he received here combined with his knowledge of Chinese musical culture will serve him well in this assignment.

“There are lots of good composers in China,” he added, “so it’s a particular honor for him to be chosen. I think he’s going to do us proud.”