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Sweet Sounds: Xiaotong Wang and the Language of Music

Xiaotong Wang

Xiaotong Wang

Xiaotong Wang picked up the violin when he was 3 ½ years old and he has never set it down. A native of China, he was pushed by his parents to learn the instrument.

But he soon came to love it.

“It became my buddy,” he said. “It became my passion. I wanted to learn more.”

Indeed. The notes that flow from his violin are sweet, moving and melodious.

“Music – the violin – is my life,” he says. “I can’t live without music.”

His wife is also a violinist and his 3-year-old son is learning the instrument.

Mr. Wang received a Bachelor’s Degree at the Academy of Music in JiNan, China, and his Master’s and Ph.D. from the Moscow Conservatory in Russia. He developed a love for classical music, especially Tchaikovsky.

“Now I love all classical and romantic music,” he said.

During his eight years in Russia, he studied for six and played for two with the Russian National Orchestra. He is now performing with the Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra in Princeton.

In 2007, Mr. Wang won the first prize in the 21st Century Youth Virtuoso Competition and in 2008, he was invited by the Tula Oblast government and New Moscow National Music School to become a lifelong judge of the Gnesin-Academy Cup Chamber Music International Competition.

He is fluent in Chinese and Russian, and is learning English at MCC.

“The English as a Second Language Program at MCC is very, very good and helpful,” he said. He credits his teachers – Gary Abbott, Richard Roy, Mary Lynch and Sudipta Biswas – with helping him immensely. Mr. Wang started taking classes in the summer, and has gone to level four already, which is the highest level for the program.

“It’s a pleasure teaching Xiaotong whose passion is to improve his English language and American culture,” said Professor Lynch. “And it is especially a pleasure when he shares with his ESL classmates his passion for performing in orchestras with his magnificent violin.”

He plans to stay in the United States and become a music teacher at a university. Actually, he is now teaching violin to 15 students – most of them American-born Chinese – in the United States. He can teach and communicate with his students in English now.

Jane Jiang, an MCC reference librarian who is also from China, said Mr. Wang learned Russian in about six months.

“Since he picked up Russian that quickly, he’ll be able to learn English rapidly,” she said. “He is very passionate and enthusiastic about his new life in the U.S.”

Mr. Wang actually knows a fourth tongue.

“Music is its own language,” he said.