Derrick Wang is a composer, dramatist, and scholar unlocking the power of music in other disciplines. At Peabody, he teaches interdisciplinary courses in music and law on the graduate and undergraduate levels for the Professional Studies department and the Business of Music minor.
He is the creator of the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, “a perfect…jewel” (Opera Today) that was launched at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013, ushering in the current era of Supreme Court-themed books, films, and art. 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?” An early version of his libretto was published in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, with prefaces by Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia themselves. The opera is also featured in Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s book My Own Words as its own chapter, the audiobook version of which is narrated by the composer from New York’s Steinway Hall. Scalia/Ginsburg was originally premiered at Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival in 2015, with further productions at The Glimmerglass Festival (2017), Opera North (2018), and OperaDelaware (2019).
Wang’s work has drawn significant attention to opera in the national and international press — as the subject of a front-page article in The Wall Street Journal, a three-page illustrated feature in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany’s largest national subscription daily newspaper), and articles and interviews in outlets including the ABA Journal, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (Poland), The Economist, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, The New Republic, Opera Today, Der Standard (Austria), and The Washington Post. His work has received further coverage in The New York Times, AARP The Magazine, and the ABC television program Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
As a composer, Wang has received awards from musical organizations including ASCAP and BMI. His compositions, presented by artists ranging from the American Modern Ensemble to the 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 Library of Congress, York Theatre, Ars Nova Theater, Joe’s Pub (New York Public Theater), Center Stage (Baltimore), Harvard University, and Yale University. He has also served as a Resident Artist (Composer & Librettist) at American Lyric Theater.
As a scholar and speaker on law and the arts, he has addressed select audiences in the United States and abroad, including TEDxBroadway, the Judicial-Congressional Dialogue, Second Circuit Judicial Conference, National Constitution Center, Stanford Arts Institute & Stanford Law School, Columbia Law School, and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
He currently serves as Founding Advisor at Arsapio, LLC, a creative consultancy for polymathic growth. Formerly an attorney in private practice, he has served as counsel advising creative clients across industries in the launch, operation, and growth of their ventures, and was named to Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers® Maryland Rising Stars list for his work in intellectual property law. He has also spent time at premier Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator, where he shadowed a group of over 100 startups while researching the creativity of tech entrepreneurship.
Born in Maryland, he graduated from Gilman School while studying piano at the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He received his Bachelor of Arts (AB) degree magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in music from Harvard University; his Master of Music (MM) degree in Composition on a Richardson Scholarship from the Yale School of Music; and his Juris Doctor (JD) degree on a Houff Leadership Scholarship from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.