BMP Teaching Artists in Action | Jennifer Wang
Taiwanese Violinist Jennifer Wang has been a Teaching Artist with the Boston Music Project since the Fall of 2019. Growing up in rural Taiwan with fewer musical outlets made her further appreciate her music education and orchestral experiences, and it is this resolve she injects into her teaching. She believes every child deserves access to music education of the highest quality.
Wang earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Taipei University of Education, where her passion and skills for music education
were well-nourished. She eventually came to Boston to get her Master’s degree in Music in 2019 from Boston University under the guidance of violinist Lynn Chang.
As a performer, Ms. Wang divides her time between Asia and the United States, including performing with the Taipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Boston Civic Symphony as assistant concertmaster. Teaching experiences besides her role at BMP includes volunteering at the El Sistema program in Bridge Boston Charter School since 2018, and the Somerville Community School since 2019.
Above: Jennifer Wang performs Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34.
Jennifer opens up about what inspired her to pursue music as her career.
“People are my inspirations! Throughout my musical life, there are times I felt like I was standing at the fork in the road - one way leads to a career not music-related, and the other way, with visible obstacles ahead, leads to music as my profession. At these moments, I encountered inspirational people who projected their own courage and strength to help me step onto the musical road. Among these encounters were an orchestra conductor who chose to believe in her seemingly untalented students; a big-name violinist willing to spend hours talking me out of an unfruitful belief; a bunch of famous musicians who believe and demonstrate that music is love; and many others.”
She is looking forward to three exciting upcoming projects. These include composing music for a short film directed by Chinese filmmaker Sophie Lee; writing a piece for her orchestration class to be performed by full orchestra, her first time working on such a project; and recording the violin part for Berklee songwriter Karena Chou's new song. Jennifer enjoys the new freedom of this remote collaboration, which is ever-growing in popularity nowadays.
However, her biggest, most recent endeavor is an orchestral recording project with Maestro Jonathan McPhee and an orchestra made up of other Boston University students. Because of new restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these rehearsals and concerts have gone a little differently than usual.
“Boston University has been working hard to resume students' music-making experiences. But, the size of the orchestra went down to around 24 players to avoid crowding in the rehearsal space. Instead of a concert at the end of each cycle, like normal, we record as if it were a live concert.”
She talks about some of the hardships.
“It's for sure harder now to play together [than in-person]. The members of the orchestra are apart at least 6 feet, which makes coordination between and within sections harder. The students are required to take weekly COVID-19 tests and do a daily report on their health condition in order to enter the rehearsal space. This helps lower the risk of outbreaks in the group, but there are still risks. Some members did not feel safe to continue meeting for rehearsals, so they decided to switch over to recording fully remote. Hence, the administration team has had to deal with constant uncertainty. I also serve as an orchestra manager, so I get to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes work. The faculties and staff are working really hard to ensure a safe place for everyone.”
Despite all of the difficulties faced, their performance came together in the end. The orchestra successfully recorded two pieces: Respighi's Trittico Botticelliano and Honneger's Pastorale d'été.