A composer of what the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung calls "shamelessly beautiful" music for not only the avant-garde but “for all classical enthusiasts or indeed all music lovers," Cynthia Lee Wong is much in demand by ensembles around the world. Current commissions include a work for the Duo Slaato Reinecke, a piano sonata-fantasy for SooJin Anjou and a piano quartet for the Santa Fe Music Festival and the La Jolla Music Society, which will receive performances in 2010 and 2011.
Past commissions include String Quartet No. 1 for the Tanglewood Music Center in 2009, Songs of Gernika for Irantzu Agirre’s debut at Carnegie Hall in 2008, and Sinfonietta for the Cincinnati College-Conservatory Orchestra in 2008. On Baldness and Other Songs (2007) and Three Portraits (2005) were commissioned by musica viva of WHERE TK and premiered by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2004, the New Juilliard Ensemble commissioned and premiered Stages in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Fates and Furies received its premiere by the Juilliard Orchestra in 2003. In 2000, when Wong was 17, her Piano Concerto No. 2 was premiered by the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Benjamin Zander and Wong as piano soloist, winning praise from The Boston Globe for the work’s “bright, glittering surfaces” and for showing “remarkable technical accomplishment” and “great rhythmic sophistication” as a composer.
Wong's solo, chamber, and vocal compositions have been performed in Spain, France, Canada, Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, and the United States. Her Fugato was recorded by pianist Lilia Boyadjieva and featured on her Around the Fugue/Autour de la fugue CD. Wong collaborated with choreographer Sebastian Gehrke in 2003 on Low, Livid, Lucid, which received performances in the Juilliard Theater and in Alice Tully Hall. In 1999, Wong performed her piano music at the Gnessen Institute in Moscow, the Moscow Conservatory, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Among her awards are the 2008 and 2001 ASCAP Awards; the 2008 Robert Starer Composition Award from the Graduate Center, CUNY; third prize at the 2005 International Zemlinksy Composition Competition; and the 2004 Joseph Bearns Prize from Columbia University.
Wong is a graduate of the accelerated five-year Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Music program at the Juilliard School. She studied composition with Milton Babbitt, David Del Tredici, Samuel Adler, David Olan, and Larry Thomas Bell, as well as piano with Frank Levy, Tatyana Dudochkin, and Martin Canin. From 2006 to 2008, she was on the music theory and composition faculty at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. Wong is a Ph.D. candidate and Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She teaches at Baruch College of the City University of New York.