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Opera and lyrical music
Sheet music for Fu-Tong Wong
- Rhapsody of Taiwan
- In Memoriam
- Fugue BWV 853 Transcription
- Symphonic Poem of Shiau-Feng
- The Hero with Great Eagle
- Xi Shi
National instrument orchestra
- Xiaoao Jianghu (The Smiling, Proud Wanderer)
- The Hero with Great Eagle
- Qiu Jin
Violin concerti with string orchestra
- Xi Shi Fantasy
- Variations on the theme of Zhu Shuei Chen
- Fugato for Strings
Solo violin (with or without piano)
- Homeland Dreams Suite
- Arrangements of Four Chinese Folk Songs
- Chinese Dance in D
- Chinese Dance in E
- Variations on the theme of Anping Ballade
- Variations on the theme of Hoyahue
- Xi Shi Fantasy
Unlike many well-known contemporary composers, Fu Tong Wong did not attend any prestigious conservatories, earn a PhD in music, or win any composition contests. Wong was born in Canton Province, China in 1948 – a time of political turmoil and poverty. Not until the age of 12 did Wong had the opportunity to learn any instrument. He taught himself to play the harmonica, joined the Youth Orchestra of Guanzho, attended a poly-tech high school, and later the Guanzho College of Music. When he turned 20, Wong was sent to a cultural camp to train a group of illiterate people to play Chinese and Western instruments and teach them basic music theory. After several years serving in the camp and developing the ability and confidence in teaching and organizing rehearsals, he moved to New York to assist his brother to manage a food production company.
In 1975, Wong had the rare opportunity to study under Si-Hong Ma, a violin professor at Kent State University, Ohio. Ma had to invite Wong’s brother to dinner and convince him of Wong’s talent, before his brother would agree to let Wong go back to school and provide with his living expenses. Besides learning from Ma, Wong also studied violin with Albert Markov and composition with Walter Watson. After earning his Master’s Degree in Music, Wong returned to New York as Ma’s teaching assistant, received more training in composition with Ji-Ren Zhang, and got married.
In 1983, Wong was invited to teach at the National Institute of Arts in Taiwan and also became the Concertmaster of the National Experimental Orchestra. In spite of a busy schedule (and having his first child), Wong devoted himself to writing and published several books, including Essays on Violin Teaching (1983), Talking about Music and Violin (1986), and Teaching how to Teach; Learning how to Teach (1986). Wong also studied composition with Yen-Lu and Shen-Xi Lin, both music professors at universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Lin combined western compositional techniques with Chinese philosophical thoughts, which had a huge influence on Wong’s composing style and view of life. However, after three precious years in Taiwan, Wong had to give up the career he always wanted to help his brother expand the food-production business in Chinatown, New York.
Between 1986 and 1990, Wong composed prolifically in part to balance a daytime job of promoting food products and reconstructing a new factory. He composed many solo and choral works, violin sonatas, and wrote Music Appreciation (1990). One of his compositions “The Colder, The Stronger” was performed at Merkin Concert Hall in New York by the East-American Chinese Choir in 1989, which received high appraisal. As his brother’s business begin to stabilize, Wong decided to return to a full-time musical career and accepted a position at Tainan Technical College, Taiwan.
At the end of 1992, Wong received a commission from Henry Mazer, then music director of Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra, to compose a violin concerto to be performed during the orchestra’s European tour. This lead to the writing of “Xi Shi Fantasy” and was premiered in Vienna with music critic Franz Endler calling it “a perfect combination of Western and Eastern music”. The same group later performed “Xi Shi” and “Rhapsody of Taiwan” at the Boston Symphony Hall and Taipei National Concert Hall. In remembrance of Mazer’s contribution to the advancement of Taiwan’s classical music industry and education, Wong composed and revised the “Symphonic Poem of Shiau-Feng” several times. In 2004, Wong traveled to Russia on his own expense to record “Symphony: the Hero with Great Eagle” with Voronezh State Symphony Orchestra and conductor Mak Ka-lok. In 2010, the album “Postcards from China” was recorded at Rice University featuring violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Evelyn Chen.
Besides his teaching job at school, Wong spends most of his free time refining the group-violin teaching method he had created (the Wong Group Teaching Violin Method), giving private lessons, reading, writing, and practicing calligraphy.