Zhiyi Wang (b.1980) is a multi-award winning composer for contemporary classical and film genres.
Zhiyi’s characteristics of composing reflects all the genres he has touched, with a sophisticated amalgam of Oriental tinctures and Western avant-garde, as well as influenced by classical traditions. He has created an aesthetics of musical language that many regard as a distinctive voice of his generation. Representative of his acclaim, the president of Shanghai Opera House, Guoyong Zhang, praised him during his residence as, “the greatest composer of all time in our opera house”. Zhiyi’s works have been performed by leading ensembles worldwide, including the China National Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic, NCPA Orchestra, The Orchestra of Shanghai Opera House, Brno Philharmonic, Senzoku New Philharmonic Orchestra, Lviv Chamber Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, Sound Ways Ensemble, Ensemble Les Amis, RTE ConTempo Quartet, Baroque Camerata, Lemberg Sinfonietta, and many other renowned ensemble groups throughout Asia, North America and Europe.
As a core member of the music crew in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Zhiyi composed various music programs for the Opening Ceremony. His Fanfare for the Ceremony was performed when Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, and Liu Qi, President of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, entered the stadium to make their opening speeches. His arrangements included four programs: the theme song, You and Me (performed by Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan), the duet song, Dream of the Five Rings, Ritual Music, and Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. Zhiyi’s immense contribution to the spirit of the Ceremonies has been officially acknowledged by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee.
He further composed a series of music works in different genres, including film and TV scores, contemporary classical, pop music, modern ballet and musicals. Regarding film and TV, Zhiyi composed an original score for the films, But Always and Highway of Love, for which he received the “Discovery of the Year” nomination from the 15th World Soundtrack Awards, together with fellow composers for Birdman and Ex Machina. He became the second Asian nominee after Tan Dun to be acknowledged in the same award category since 2001. Zhiyi also orchestrated and produced the film scores for Coming Home and The Flowers of War by Zhang Yimou. The Coming Home, soundtrack featuring pianist Lang Lang with the China Philharmonic, won the Best Original Score in the 51st Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. The Flowers of War, soundtrack featuring violinist Joshua Bell, choir Allmänna Sången with the China Philharmonic, received a nomination for the Golden Globe Awards and six nominations for the Asian Film Awards. Moreover, Zhiyi composed the original music for major documentaries of CCTV, including The Forbidden City 100, Huai, The Open Door, The Louvre Meets the Forbidden City, and Jinling: Predestined to Buddha.
In serious music domains, Zhiyi was appointed by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music to establish Composing for Film and Stage Drama, a course designed for senior-grade composition students, beginning in 2015. He gave lectures as well as invited renowned film composers as guest lecturers. Zhiyi has won more than 10 prestigious international composition prizes and has been granted by major international composer programs as composer-in-residence and honored participant, including at the Shanghai Opera House, Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, Sacrarium International Composers’ Forum in Ukraine and the International Contemporary Arts Academy in Romania. In 2017, Zhiyi won the 1st Prize from RED NOTE International Composition Competition in the United States. In 2016, He also won the 1st Prize from the Alfred Schnittke International Composition Competition in Ukraine. In 2014, he won two 1st Prizes from Malta International Composition Competition and the Senzoku Gakuen International Composition Competition in Japan. The winning works, string quartet Three Overlapping Sounds and chamber music Maple in Twilight, have been highly praised for their ability to meld diverse cultural influences. The orchestral work, The Aroma of Exotic, was published worldwide in fall 2014 by Ablaze Records in Orchestral Masters Vol. 2. Zhiyi also won the International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition in Czech Republic, the International Sergei Slonimsky Composition Competition in Russia and the International Franz Liszt Composers' Competition in Italy, as well as being awarded the Grawemeyer Fellowship from the University of Louisville.
With regard to pop music, Zhiyi received two nominations for Best Arrangement in the 25th Golden Melody Awards for Fu Xian Lake and Blooming from the 2013 album Li Jian Classic Remake Collections. He also arranged the string orchestra for Sandy Lam’s 2012 album, GAIA, which swept several major awards including Best Album from the 24th Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan. Zhiyi had been actively involved in China’s most watched Singer Reality Show, I am a Singer by recreating classic songs, including Seasons 2 and 3 featuring Jason Zhang and Li Jian, respectively.
Zhiyi holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music composition from Oberlin College Conservatory and the University of Louisville, respectively, and is a superb pianist as well. He held several piano concerts of his own compositions and also performed, premiering new works in various concerts and music festivals. When asked about his compositional philosophy, he shares, “I think an open-minded artist should be sensitive to absorb nutrition from anything musically inspiring.”
Commissioned projects and upcoming events
Shanghai Conservatory of Music commissioned three opuses of string quartet for ensemble curriculums and competition repertoires. The first quartet work will be premiered by Ensemble Les Amis in May 2017 for their European tour.
Monography of Chamber Music
A series of chamber works are to be recorded into a monography CD, which will be released in 2017.
Music composed for various genres
Film and TV Scores
2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
Sample clips in different genres
Forbidden City 100
The first episode of the documentary Forbidden City 100
Theme song of the documentary The Louvre Meets the Forbidden City, vocal by Shilei Chang.
Elegy for Strings
Lviv chamber orchestra, Conductor Ferdinando Nazzaro,
St. Maria Magdalena's Church, Lviv, Ukraine
RED NOTE International Composition Competition, UNITED STATES, 2017
International Alfred Schnittke Composition Competition, UKRAINE, 2016
Discovery of the Year Nomination
World Soundtrack Awards, BELGIUM, 2015
The Sacrarium International Composers' Forum and Competition, UKRAINE, 2015
Best Arrangement Nominations
Golden Melody Awards, TAIWAN, 2014
Senzoku Gakuen International Composition Competition, JAPAN, 2014
Malta International Composition Competition, MALTA, 2014
Ablaze Records Orchestral Masters Call for Score, UNITED STATES, 2014
International Sergei Slonimsky Composition Competition, RUSSIA, 2012
International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition, CZECH, 2012
Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee, CHINA, 2008
University of Louisville, UNITED STATES, 2004
International Franz Liszt Competition for Composers, ITALY, 2004