Student Spotlight: Sarah Wang '14

by Michaela Ledoux | 11/3/13 3:58pm

An accomplished solo pianist and member of X.ado, the Christian a cappella group on campus, Sarah Wang ’14 has accomplished her goal to be involved with music in some capacity while in college.

“I don’t remember not playing piano,” said Wang, who began playing piano at the age of four. The New Jersey native was inspired by her childhood piano teacher, who taught that music was a universal form of communication. Wang said her she is fascinated by the way that “music transcends cultural and national barriers.”

Wang resonates with Romantic composers, especially Schumann and Rachmaninoff. At Dartmouth, Wang takes lessons with Sally Pinkas, who has helped her to cultivate her own solo repertoire. Wang also studied in London on the music foreign study program.

Wang considered attending a conservatory, but found that Dartmouth combined numerous music opportunities with an all-around strong education. Majoring in music and geography modified with economics, Wang found an appealing nexus between these disparate fields.

“Geography analyzes how place drives decisions and trends in the world,” Wang said. Similarly, she finds that music has “a deeper meaning in that it reflects how society, identity and family drive musical expression.”

Although uncertain of her future, Wang is interested in international development and business, and she plans to continue playing for the rest of her life.

On Saturday, Wang will perform alongside the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra in the culmination of her musical career. She said she hopes that her performance will “reshape people’s notion of classical music and reach the audience.”

Many people do not realize the commitment that piano performers have to practice.

“We practice for more time than we ever perform,” Wang said.

These moments of intense preparation yield the greatest musical breakthroughs. For Wang, playing is a stress-relieving, reflective practice, which leads her to touch the piano every day.

“It will definitely be a personally fulfilling performance,” Wang said. She added that she hopes the audience will come to “respect the music itself.”

This article has been updated to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 5, 2013

An earlier version misstated Wang's quote about the study of geography and her wishes for her performance.