Derrick Wang, composer, lyricist, and pianist

Derrick [Wang]…is an incredibly gifted composer and lyricist….His lyrics are beautifully wrought, wonderfully dramatic and true to character, setting and situation. As for his music, it is simply enthralling….In my experience, it is rare to encounter an emerging composer-lyricist with such a high level of sophistication, subtlety and craft.

—Michael Korie, opera librettist (The Grapes of Wrath, Harvey Milk) and theater lyricist (Grey Gardens, Far from Heaven)

Derrick Wang is a composer, lyricist, and pianist, creating dramatic music for an interdisciplinary world. He also engages audiences as a speaker on music, law, creativity, and the future of the performing arts.

He is the creator of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, which was introduced at the Supreme Court of the United States by National Public Radio (NPR) and is currently in development, with presentations given by the Maryland Opera Studio and the Washington National Opera.

Other compositions include:

  • Valley, Mountain, Sky, an orchestral work based on Chinese folk songs, commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, and premiered at Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall and the Shanghai Grand Theatre in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics;
  • Ish, a BMI award-winning one-act opera premiered at Harvard University and New York’s Ars Nova Theater; and
  • Prom, a full-length musical excerpted at CenterStage, Harvard University, Yale University, and Joe’s Pub at the New York Public Theater.
    [“Girl Who Didn’t” from Prom]

[Derrick] Wang didn’t make any of those mistakes that even the best pros occasionally make.….I mean this: Pro-rated, considering that this 17-year-old [composer-lyricist-librettist] had spent comparatively few days on this planet, Prom was the best musical I’d ever read.

—Peter Filichia, theater critic and author, TheaterMania.com

Further works have won awards from ASCAP, the American Modern Ensemble, Harvard University, and the Yale School of Music.

Born in Baltimore, he graduated from Gilman School while earning his Advanced Certificate in Piano at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He received his AB magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in music from Harvard University; his Master of Music degree in composition on a Richardson Scholarship from the Yale School of Music; and his JD on a Houff Leadership Scholarship from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.