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Daily Inspiration: Meet Arthur (Peiyao) Wang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arthur(Peiyao) Wang.

Hi Arthur(Peiyao), please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Born in a small city in the northern part of China, Baotou, I started my music journey at age four. Every week, my mother drove me to piano class, where I got my access to classical music, Bach, Mozart, Shostakovich, etc. At that time, my mother was a very open-mind lady and wanting to explore various of new things. One day, she brought home a CD called ‘Classical American Songs’. In that album, there are songs that win academy award or ranked very high on Billboard. I never heard music like that. Songs are so beautiful and romantic, with unique arrangements and interesting rhythm. On the way to school, my mother played me that CD again and again. Since then, I noticed that there is a wide range of music styles all over the world. And I explored them by myself, Jazz, J-pop, World Music, Electronic music, etc., which improved my musicianship later in my life. I did my Bachelor of Arts at Communication University of China, a school with all the genres of majors in Arts and Media. My major is composition, focusing on electronic music composition. I had so many opportunities to collaborate with other majors, such as animation, singer, filmmaker, visual arts. In the process of studying music and collaborating with other young artists, I found I like to work with others and I enjoy the fact that my music can assist other forms of arts. In that period, I also won several international composition awards, such as Musicacoustica-Beijing Electronic Music Composition Competition, Denny Awards, and Grant from IEMC (International Electronic Music Competition). After I finished my bachelors degree, fortunately, I got an offer from prestigious Eastman School of Music for my Master’s degree majoring in Contemporary Media/Film Scoring.

I was extremely excited to start my next step of music journey to study with multi Emmy Awards-winning composers Mark Watters and Jeff Beal. Eastman School of Music is a community where a student can fully be involved in a music-making environment. Every night, various ensembles perform in different concert halls, like Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman Jazz Ensemble, Musica-Nova Ensemble, etc. From Duke Ellington’s Jazz Big Band music to Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto, I was involved in this music environment so much and never got tired. Even luckily, I got a chance to study with Jazz Master Bill Dobbins. He has so much insightful thinking on music and composing. He helped me finish my first Jazz Big Band arrangement of a classical American song called Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered. Eastman Jazz Ensemble premiered this piece in October 2020, which was a precious experience of music-making in my whole life. After that, I moved to LA to start my professional music career. Now, I am a freelance composer and also a teacher that gives private composition lessons to young composers. Because I believe education is as important as composing music. I hope I can help even more young composers to achieve their music dream. Recently, I am composing a soundtrack for a VR game that’s in process. Also, I am writing an original piece for Eastman Jazz Ensemble and a piece for professional piano trio group ‘Reveron Trio’.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As a composer, you need to learn from so many music styles to make it possible that, in the future, you can create your personal sound. Finding your own sound is a long journey. It’s easier to compose a piece of music that someone may say ‘this sounds like Ravel’ than ‘this sounds like you!’. I am trying my best to be involved in different music environments and put all music that I got influenced from into my own system, digest and reproduce them, which in fact is an interesting process and meaningful journey. I learned a lot from this experience and explored even more music I love. As a composition teacher, it’s a challenge to really connect with your students and help them in a way that they can digest your suggestions on their music. Everyone has his own taste. My mission is to give my insightful thoughts on student’s work based on what I know about that music. In the meantime, I try to be respectful of students’ own opinions. Because sometimes, when you insist on something really bad, you will ignore the student’s desire for their music. It’s about balance and it’s not about control one’s idea or mind on their artist expression.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As a composer, I compose music for film, video games, tv shows and other different medias. In the meantime, I am also a classical composer. In the past, I composed music for promotional video of Beijing College Student Film Festival several advertisements of phone apps. In 2019, my music for interactive project ‘Ripple” was selected in 2020 the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. That winter, my score for BIODANCE, a modern dance theater group, premiered in Memorial Arts Gallery in Rochester, NY. In 2020, I composed music for animation ‘REVIVAL’ that won 2020 Florence Film Awards Best Animation. In the past, my works won several awards including Musicacoustica-Beijing Electronic Music Composition Competition, Denny Awards, and Grant from IEMC (International Electronic Music Competition). Recently, I am composing music for a VR game that is still in process. I am really proud that I can fit client’s or artists’ music demands. It’s very significant to understand other artists’ needs and also bring your own creativity into music. My wide-range music language helps set me apart from others. My influence are from different music styles, such as jazz, world music, pop, classical music, etc.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
LA is one of the most diverse cities in the US. It’s terrific that there are so many cultures here. Every culture can call LA home and they make LA a very special place to live and explore. Los Angeles is also the creative capital of the world. The industry here gives so many opportunities to different artists and inspires them to create unique arts. As a musician, it’s amazing that finding great music in Los Angeles is never a problem. If I want some classical music, Walt Disney Hall is the place. Thousands of jazz bars provide unlimited possibilities for some jazz fans. Also, the most important thing is a great living environment. The sunshine and beach is always a comforter when people feel upset. However, there is one thing I dislike about this city, traffic.

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