Critical Acclaim

“…I am impressed with [Wong’s] original and expert approach to orchestra writing…”

 – Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor

“Cynthia Lee Wong is an altogether skilled and knowledgable musician and a composer with a genuine gift for orchestral writing. She understands the capabilities of instruments and knows how to achieve sonorities that are new and refreshing. Her music is original, technically sophisticated and, most important, is deeply felt and capable of moving her listeners.”

– John Adams, composer

“I was frankly amazed by her level of accomplishment and sent along a copy of the CD to Oliver Knussen. He seconded, enthusiastically, my appreciation for Cynthia’s remarkable talent.”

Marc Neikrug, composer

“Dear Cynthia Wong, I loved your new piece – so passionate, so restrained. Congratulations!”

– Dr. Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings and Musicophilia, in response to “Memoriam”

“And what to make of Wong’s unsettling work, expertly performed by [the Tokyo String Quartet’s Martin] Beaver, pianist Joyce Yang, violist Kazuhide Isomura and cellist Felix Fan? In her piece inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s “Ligeia,” Wong effectively creates a sonic space in which it’s difficult to get oriented, but it’s impossible not to listen. Starting with Fan’s opening, swooping cello line, she builds a dark, eerie, and highly individual sound universe that is the work of a composer with considerable skill, and at age [28], enormous promise.”                      

James Chute on “Piano Quartet,” The San Diego Union-Tribune

“[Wong’s] three songs…in an extravagant variety of sound, betray a rich compositional talent.”

Stefan Schwarz on “On Baldness and Other Songs,” Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Cynthia Lee Wong is carefree and ambitious, courteously bold and resolved to attain great success.  She is determined to embrace not only the avant-garde audience but all classical enthusiasts or indeed all music lovers…Shamelessly beautiful is this music [of hers], free of all preconceptions of the old avant-gardists, entirely dedicated to the moment…The past in this case serves only as stimulus, substance, material for the composer’s new and future developments.”

Reinhard J. Brembeck on “Three Portraits,” Süddeutsche Zeitung 

“[Wong] skillfully plays with the colors of a large orchestra to create a subtle, chamber-like experience. In the first two movements of her ‘Three Portraits’, the sound shimmers like delicate porcelain china. Cynthia Lee Wong, a 22-year-old American who is still a student at New York’s Juilliard School, produces distinctive sounds and feelings with an astonishing solid structure.”                                                 

Gabriele Luster on “Three Portraits,” Münchner Merkur 

“Wong’s intent in Snapshots is to capture the feeling of fast-paced modern urban life, which was evident in the piano quintet and percussion duo’s incisive lines and racing notes. Snapshots received a polished premiere under Michael Linville’s baton. With utmost precision, the ensemble’s transparent texture revealed Wong’s substantial multitude of ideas.” 

Dorothy Hindman on “Snapshots,” The Miami Herald

“Distinctly rooted in modern classical music, [Wong’s Memoriam] created a galvanizing sonic tension using sharp staccatos…With its somber nature and jarring hits, the piece was indeed very emotional and might have found a place in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. The work was met with uproarious applause following its final notes.”     

Peter Berexa on “Memoriam,” The Lafayette 

“[A] well-constructed and most moving piece…Many felicitous moments remain in my memory – the peaceful opening’s lovely melody, played with little or no vibrato and passed from viola to cello to violin; the violent middle section describing the bombing; the dramatic spoken line…which introduces the peaceful conclusion; the orchestration of this conclusion which, in a reversal of the norm, features string glissandi accompanying a harp melody.”                                                                                   

Harry Saltzman on “Gernika,” New York Concert Review

“This work is full of explosions, dynamism and a dancing disposition.  Written in a ‘modern’ musical language with free use of harmony, dissonance and hard expressionism, it does not attempt to seduce us but rather to awaken us.”    

Haris Vrondos on “Fugato,” Lilia Boyadjieva’s “Around the Fugue” CD

“…[Wong] shows remarkable technical accomplishment and, particularly, great rhythmic sophistication.  The music is attractive and full of bright, glittering, surfaces.”                                        

   Ellen Pfeifer on “Piano Concerto no. 2,” The Boston Globe 

“…Wong’s individual voice shone through with, say, a quick, quirky violin solo or a melody that took a delightfully unexpected turn…Her [piano] playing was vigorous and compelling – Wong is clearly no small musical talent…”

T.J. Medrek on “Piano Concerto no. 2,” The Boston Herald

“…the piece evinced a sure-footed integrity, and Wong was an extraordinarily self-possessed, self-effacing soloist…”                                                                  

Jeffery Gantz on “Piano Concerto no. 2,”  The Boston Phoenix