Pierce Wang enjoys lively Conus concerto, dedicates performance to his late grandmother

  Pierce Wang, violin

Pierce Wang, violin

When asked about his favorite music, violinist Pierce Wang, 14, answers simply, “Conus, as it is my main piece now,” he said.

It sure is. “Conus,” Pierce’s nickname for the dramatic but seldom-played Violin Concerto in E Minor by Russian Romantic composer Julius Conus, has gotten a lot of attention from the young violinist this year. He has performed it with two other regional orchestras—the Saratoga Symphony and the Solano Symphony—and on Nov. 19, he performs it with Symphony Parnassus at Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco.

“I feel very honored and excited to play with Symphony Parnassus,” Pierce said. “My hope is that everyone will walk away from the performance with some amount of awe after hearing the Conus.”

Pierce’s upcoming performance will have a special dedication: He is playing to honor his maternal grandmother, Ellen Yeh, who died in mid-October. She liked to watch him practice and always supported him. “My grandmother often reminded my parents how important it was that I enjoyed the violin as I continued learning to play,” he said. “She loved to hear me play my violin as much as seeing my card-throwing and amateur magic tricks.”

  Pierce said this picture—of him as a young child, with his late grandmother, Ellen Yeh—is one of his favorites. His performance is a dedication to her memory.

Pierce said this picture—of him as a young child, with his late grandmother, Ellen Yeh—is one of his favorites. His performance is a dedication to her memory.

Pierce has been studying violin almost his whole life—12 years. In addition to the beauty of the instrument, he also likes the violin for practical reasons: “I am a very active person,” he said. “I bring it with me everywhere.”

He is a winner of the 2017 San Francisco Conservatory of Music – Symphony Parnassus Concerto Competition, and has achieved many other honors, including, in 2014, appearing on “From the Top,” NPR’s classical music program for young artists, and, in 2013, he won the Yehudi Menuhin-Helen Dowling competition. He studies violin with Alena Tsoi at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Pre-College Division.

Pierce lives in Fremont, Calif. with his parents Evan and Karen Wang, and has two brothers—Austin, 19, and Ryan, 20, both of whom play guitar. He is in the 9th grade at Stanford University Online High School, where he has received such honors as the National Latin Exam (Intro to Latin) Certificate of Merit, and Recognition in Math, Algebra I (2015).  

When not playing violin, Pierce enjoys computer programming, robotics, longboarding (similar to skateboarding), card-throwing, performing magic tricks and playing with his dog, Rémy, a basenji-terrier mix.