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UofL graduate’s music to be part of Olympic Games opening ceremony

Time: 2012.02.05      Source: University of Louisville News      Reads:727
University of Louisville alumnus Zhiyi Wang probably never imagined that a song he composed would have a single worldwide audience of as many as four billion people — but it will Aug. 8 during Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony.

Wang wrote “Fanfare for the Ceremony,” the song the Chinese People’s Liberation Army band will play as Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, and Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, enter the Beijing National Stadium.

“I am very much looking forward to hearing Zhiyi’s music,” said Marc Satterwhite, a composition professor with whom Wang studied at UofL. “He’s a terrific and dedicated young composer with a great future ahead of him.”
A 2006 graduate of the School of Music, Wang began his work with the Beijing Olympic Games in July 2007.

Wang’s fanfare was not a shoe-in for inclusion in the ceremonies. He had to compete with other composers, and the process was laborious.

“After some experimentation, I found a proper theme and developed that into a complete piano tune,” he said. “When this piano version received favorable feedback from Mr. Chen (music director Qigang Chen) I immediately orchestrated it for the military band and then sent the full score to my workmate to produce a demo.

“When the demo came out it was regarded as the best piece among all the submissions for the score,” he said.

“I count this as my biggest accomplishment to date,” Wang said. “But there was a lot of work. I toiled for a whole year through revisions and expansions, reductions and style modifications.”

Months of work yielded only a few minutes of music, he noted.

In addition to composing the fanfare, Wang also helped arrange four other pieces that will be used throughout the games, including the 39th Olympiad theme song , which he and Chen co-orchestrated.

Composing and orchestrating were just part of Wang’s duties. He also transcribed and revised music, collected folk music for thematic material, checked scores by other composers before they were approved for recording and trained singers.

“What we — my colleagues and I — are sculpting will musically affect every second of the ceremony. So, we have given to the best of our ability in helping Beijing achieve a wonderful moment in Olympic history,” he said.
“I am very grateful that I can be a part of this important event,” he said.