Local Freshman Composer Shines With Musical Spirit

Photo courtesy Xia Qiu
In 2015, La Cañada Flintridge resident Sydney Wang performed on a music tour for her first winning composition competition, traveling to Austria, where she played in the Mozart House.

Years ago, Zhen-Gang Wang was at the piano, practicing, while his then-5-year-old twins played together on the ground nearby, seemingly engrossed in their own activities.
But then one of them spoke up.
“Dad,” Wang’s daughter, Sydney, said, “You’re playing the wrong key.”
After a moment’s reflection, the Caltech chemical engineering professor agreed: “Oh, darn! I am.”
So goes the story, one of many chronicling the La Cañada High School freshman’s natural musical aptitude, a gift that’s already opening doors and garnering international acclaim.
At 2 years old, Wang could play a simple song on a piano, her mom, Xia Qiu, said. By 6, Sydney could hear a pop song once and sing it back, hitting each note perfectly. Professor Ian Krouse of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music took her on as a private student at 11, agreeing to meet with her a couple of times per month to help cultivate her budding composing skills.
And earlier this year, Wang, now 14, was invited to New York City to receive the 65th annual BMI Student Composer Award for her ambitious four-movement symphonic work, “Tales from the Sea.”
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To Local 8th-Grader, Awards Are Music to Her Ears

Sydney Wang

Fourteen-year-old Sydney Wang, an 8th-grader at La Cañada High School, is an aspiring composer studying with professor Ian Krouse of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Her works have won top prizes in national and international competitions for young composers, including the Robert Avalon International Competition for her piano solo composition and the 65th annual BMI Student Composer award for her symphonic work “Tales From the Sea.” Her orchestral work “Moonlit River” was recently performed by the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to music compositions, Wang studies piano with Mina Perry and has won many awards in piano competitions in Southern California, including Southern California Junior Bach Festival, Southwestern Youth Music Festival, Los Angeles Young Pianist Competition, Kathryn Gawartin Chopin Piano Competition, CAPMT Contemporary Music Competition and Glendale Piano Competition. She plays piano in the chamber program of the Colburn School and her piano trio group was featured in Sundays Live at LACMA (L.A. County Museum of Art). Wang is also the assistant principal cellist in the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra.