Soloist Spotlight: Dawn Wang

Dawn Wang, violinist and software engineer, has enjoyed a remarkable career. Following a serious pursuit of a musical career that saw her attending the Juilliard School Pre-College Division for eight years, and appearing on WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase, and NPR’s From the Top radio programs, Dawn obtained a degree in mechanical engineering at Princeton University. On December 6th at 8pm, Dawn will perform one of her favorite works for violin with TCS, Camille Saint-Saëns’ Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso.

TCS: Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

DW: When I was about 4 years old, my parents took me to watch a recital at the National Concert Hall in Taiwan given by the Japanese violinist Akiko Suwanai.  I remembered she wore a red dress and was the most beautiful person I’ve seen. Later on when I had the option to pick an instrument to learn in kindergarten, I still had her in my mind and decided to choose violin, hoping that I’d look as pretty as she did when I play one day :D  

TCS: What have been the biggest challenges of your career so far?

DW: When I graduated from high school, I made the decision to stop pursuing music as a professional career and went to a regular university instead of a conservatory.  Having grown up essentially in the music circle, I felt that I needed to see for myself what the world looks like outside of music, and to be honest I was finding it very difficult to really love and enjoy playing the violin due to all the stress from having to win competitions and play certain ways to please the judges.  It was very difficult decision for me, considering I had spent 8 years in the Juilliard Pre-College program as an more-or-less successful aspiring professional violinist. Luckily, I was able to find a lovely group of musicians to play with in college, and after graduating I was again super fortunate to have found TCS! Now, whenever I play, I love every minute of it and can completely focus on playing my music, delivering just what I want to deliver to my listeners, and most importantly having fun.

TCS: When was your first TCS concert? What brought you to the group?

DW: It was the concert at the school in Brooklyn in February 2016!  I had heard about TCS from my violin/bow dealer, Matthias Lehner, who I have been going to for my periodic instrument-related makeover.  He knew TCS through one of the symphony’s founders/ conductors, Yaniv Segal, and briefly mentioned I should check them out (which thank goodness I did!).  I submitted my info to the website and quickly got an email from Mark and Matt inviting me to play for the upcoming TCS concert, and the rest is history!

TCS: What keeps you coming back to play with TCS?

DW: Definitely the people!  Everyone, and I mean literally everyone, I’ve met here, are super down-to-earth and chill.  I love how even though he musicians in TCS all come from different backgrounds and age ranges, but we all share a certain level of music playing and love for music making, and that common ground--instead of all the drama and politics that sometimes gets in the way of everything in the music circle--is what we all focus on when we play together and I absolutely love that.

TCS: Who are your favorite musicians, past and/or present?

DW: Aside from Akiko Suwanai who was my early inspiration and role model, I’ve also grown to really admire performances by Anne-Sophie Mutter and Hilary Hahn (so sad I had to miss her all-Back concert a while ago!!!).  I think there is a fine line between being goofy and having fun when playing a piece, and these musicians not only all look beautiful while playing but also treats each note with respect and seriousness while obviously having fun at the same time.  

TCS: What do you carry with you in your instrument case?

DW: Hmm… rosin, this oil/cleaner thing for my strings (my hand sweat like crazy when playing), lots of back-up strings especially e-strings, nail clipper, a pencil, a nice collection of mutes (I keep on either losing them or lending them out to people and they just never come back to me :P ).

TCS: Why did you choose to perform the Saint-Saëns with TCS?

DW: First of all, this piece has always been a favorite piece of mine!  I first performed it a long time ago when I was in middle school with the piano as the ending piece to my recital.  Since then I’ve come to realize that there aren’t not that many concertos out there that are standalone and short but still packs in all the technical and artistic elements that exist in a full multi-movement concerto.   

The second reason why I chose this piece was that, when I was giving TCS my list of repertoire to play, I had just watched the Japanese anime “Your Lie in April,” where the main character was a violinist and this piece was a main component of the plot development.  It was such a great timing that reminded me of the piece just around when I was drafting my repertoire list, so here we are!


Join us as TCS welcomes violinist Dawn Wang on Friday, December 6th, at 8pm, at St. Paul’s Church at 315 W. 22nd Street, performing Saint-Saëns’ Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso!