Life @ Longy: Tianyi Wang

Tianyi Wang.jpegName: Tianyi Wang
Hometown: Changchun, Jilin, China
Instrument/area of study: Music Composition
Degree program: Master of Music
Class of 2017

Ideal Career: My career goal is to work in the film scoring industry, either as a composer, an orchestrator, or a conductor; at the same I wish to continue writing concert music in context with social concerns.

Why did you choose to attend Longy?
First, Boston is a fascinating and resourceful city for musicians, especially around Cambridge, where Longy is located. You can find all kinds of talents in every field of study. The great environment and people are reminders of who you are and where you want to be. Second, Longy has awesome faculty. I really enjoy every conversation I have with my current studio professor, Dr. Brust. His vast amount of knowledge on post-tonal composers and composition technicalities always fascinates me. 

Now that you’re here, what do you think makes Longy special?
Longy is a relatively small conservatory, with no dorms or cafeteria. But Longy is in collaboration with El Sistema, a program with a mission to support social change through music. I believe the essence of El Sistema is something that every musician should at least be aware of along his or her career path, in a society where individuality is highly valued and collectivism may be neglected from time to time. Besides personal development, it is important to conjoin our aptitudes to the environment we live in. To me, music loses its meaning once it is out of the social context for the fact that musicians are human beings, and we are by nature social animals.

How would you describe a typical school day?
As a master's student, most classes take place once per week. I try to keep everything organized and the routine similar for each day. For a typical school day, I prepare my lunch the night before. I usually wake up around 8 in the morning, take the bus to school. Besides having classes and working at the library, I prefer to finish my assignment at school rather than at home because I enjoy the “tension” at Longy, there is momentum behind every door and inside every classroom. Once I am in that environment, it propels me to work and study with more energy and positive attitude. I go for a run in the afternoon every other day because physical health is crucial for mental stability. The rest of the time is for composition, usually from the afternoon until midnight.

What is your favorite aspect of the Longy curriculum?
From a composer’s perspective, I like how Longy’s curriculum stresses the fundamentals and music theory. These are the basic tools for musicians regardless of area of focus. For performers, understanding how other composers curate music can greatly deepen your interpretations. For composers, this is the knowledge that enables us to move forward and beyond, eventually to find one’s own voice.

Biggest unexpected challenge in your coursework?
The biggest challenge is probably time management. Sometimes it is hard for me to find a large chunk of time during weekdays to really immerse myself in composing, especially during the day. Also, a lot of assignments are research and analysis-based, which not only takes more time to finish, but also requires the use of integrated musical knowledge to examine the music from various ways. (Texture, form, harmony, density, etc.)

What advice you would give to incoming/prospective students?
Be prepared to devote yourself to music 24/7/365. It is important to love what you do, or you will be miserable. Also, discover and use all the musical resources around you – go to concerts and embrace as many kinds of music as you can. 

What’s your favorite non-musical activity?
I like to work out, especially long-distance running. What I enjoy about running is not only the endorphins, but also the psychology and monologue one has to constantly deal with during the process. The recurring choice between to rest or to finish is of great value to train perseverance. This applies to my musical life in a very similar way.

Anything else you’d like to share?
As a musician and a human being, one should always be confidently modest; true modesty originates from both mind and actions. There are always words that you have never heard of, art that strikes you in a way you have never experienced before, people that are more knowledgeable than you in many aspects… Be curious and ask about things you do not understand; one will eventually find happiness and satisfaction through the process of seeking answers. Musicians should always contemplate beyond music itself; do not be limited by what you can do.


Check out Tianyi Wang's work on Youtube:

Check out Tianyi Wang's work on Soundcloud:

Showcase: "Arirang," performed by Concert Choir of Northeast Normal Univ. Conservatory in Changying Symphony Hall, Changchun, Jilin, China