Composer and pianist Wang Lu (b. 1982) was born in Xi’an, the ancient capital of China. Being brought up in a musical family with strong Chinese opera and folk music traditions, her works reflect a very natural identification with those influences, through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities.
Wang Lu’s works for a variety of Western and Chinese ensembles and orchestras have been performed internationally, by ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Orchestre National de Lille, Holland Symfonia, Shanghai National Chinese Orchestra, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Musiques Nouvelles (Belgium), Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montreal), Phoenix Ensemble (Basel), Beijing New Music Ensemble, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Argento, Momenta Quartet, Columbia University Jazz Band, the Janus Trio, So Percussion, Ensemble Pamplemouse and counter(induction, among others.
She has participated in festivals such as the Cresc Biennale in Frankfurt for new music (2013), Gaudeamus Music Week (2010 finalist), Tanglewood Music Center (2009), Cabrillo Music Festival (2010), Pacific Music Festival (2008), Takefu International Music Festival (2010), Centre Acanthes (2007), Bowling Green New Music Festival (2007), and the Beijing Modern (2004).
She won the first prize at Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s Young Composers Forum in 2010 and shared the Tactus International Young Composers Orchestra Forum Award in 2008. She was selected for a Tremplin commission by IRCAM/Ensemble Intercontemporain in 2010, the International Composition Seminar with the Ensemble Modern in 2012, and has also received two ASCAP Morton Gould awards.
She received her doctoral degree in composition at Columbia University in 2012, after graduating with highest honors from the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in 2005. Her composition teachers have included Fred Lerdahl, Tristan Murail, George Lewis, and Chou-Wen Chung.
Scenes From the Bosco Sacro:
An hour’s drive outside of Rome, in Northern Lazio, there is a wondrous and bizarre Mannerist garden complex, the Bosco Sacro (Sacred Grove), otherwise known as the Bosco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters). Lofty trees blot out the sky and sun, while towering phantasmagoric stone sculptures, familiar creatures from ancient mythology and history like Pegasus, Cerberus, and Hannibal’s elephant as well as various creatures (a turtle, a dragon, and others) surprise and astonish the visitor wandering randomly along a winding path.
The power of this unique 16th century invention takes on a weirdly humorous turn as a kind of amusement park for adults, even after centuries have passed. While we interact with the sculptures, experiencing the disorientation of a tilted house and walking through the mouth of Orcus, we end up at a miniature temple on a hilltop piazza, the site of a sacred ceremony. Here we leave the grotesque behind while we ponder the sadness of Vicino, who built the gardens after the loss of his beloved wife, Giulia Farnese. How did he intend for these figures to be monuments for his deceased wife? For the world she would be living in, or perhaps to confront his own fantasies and fears? The imaginings of a mythical afterlife? The madness of all thoughts that come with mourning?