Derrick Wang

Composer Librettist Lyricist

Derrick Wang is a composer, writer, and thinker unlocking value in unlikely places.

He is the creator of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, a “fiercely entertaining crash course on the U.S. Constitution and the people who uphold it” (Broad Street Review) that ushered in the current era of Supreme Court-themed art. Hailed as a “perfect…jewel” (Opera Today) and “the kind of opera that should be everywhere” (OperaWire), Scalia/Ginsburg was premiered at noted conductor Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival, featured as its own chapter (the audio version of which Mr. Wang narrates) in Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s book My Own Words, and continues to be performed nationwide. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without first having seen Scalia/Ginsburg?”

As an interdisciplinary thinker in fields including music and law, he demonstrates the power of the arts to transcend intellectual and ideological divides. His scholarly work, noted for “successfully integrat[ing] huge amounts of constitutional theory [and] legal scholarship” (Above the Law), has been published in academia (the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts), featured in legal periodicals (e.g. ABA Journal, Landslide), and cited on network television (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). His creative work has been featured in national news outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal to MSNBC, and in worldwide media from The Economist to the Süddeutsche Zeitung and beyond. As a speaker and pianist, he gives talks and recitals for artists, judges, and lawmakers across the political spectrum, in places ranging from the Library of Congress to TEDxBroadway to the Supreme Court of the United States. U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia have both written forewords to his work.

As a composer, Derrick Wang has received awards from musical organizations including ASCAP and BMI. His compositions, presented by artists and groups including the American Modern Ensemble, Baltimore Concert Opera, Castleton Festival, Glimmerglass Festival, Maryland Opera Studio, Opera Carolina, Opera Delaware, Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Naples, Opera North, Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, Washington National Opera, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, have been heard in venues from New York to Shanghai, and his orchestrations have been performed at Carnegie Hall and Juilliard.

As a librettist and lyricist for opera and theater, his words, set to his own music, have been performed at venues including the York Theatre, Ars Nova Theater, Joe’s Pub at the New York Public Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, Harvard University, and Yale University. He has also served as a Resident Composer–Librettist at American Lyric Theater.

He received his A.B. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Harvard University and his M.M. in music composition on a Richardson Scholarship from the Yale School of Music. He serves on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he designs and teaches interdisciplinary courses in music and law.