Born across the globe in a metropolis bearing the reputation of the Eastern Paris, Jie was a January baby associated with a departing zodiac Sheep, high hope for the arriving Spring and the first year of Single Child Policy. Wang Jie is not the easiest name to sing, and her face? Depending on the time of day, it's Buda sipping a fine whisky or your Chinese Takeout cashier girl next door. However, once you’ve sat in the audience when one of her composition is performed, you’ll want to memorize the music of her name. Once her face animates a bubbly conversation, you’ll at least sneak a second look to see what she may do next.
After a successful escape from a military-run kindergarten, Jie's parents decided that a dose of discipline was necessary to manage the 4-year-old's oversized frontal lobe. They plopped their shrimpy child in front of renowned composer/pianist Yang Liqin. Jie was instantly drawn to the wooden cabinet with the black and white teeth. Eighteen months later, Jie climbed onto the piano bench and performed both volumes of Bach Inventions at her kindergarten graduation. "We sure tamed this kid, didn't we?" approved by the Air Force General after the recital. Jie couldn't read of write Chinese yet: music was her first language and first love.
As it happens, post-Cultural Revolution pre-schoolers who could perform Bach were a penny a bucket. Jie’s small hands soon put her at a disadvantage: unable to play an octave on the piano, she ran out of repertoire to play and was stuck revisiting music she'd already mastered. Then came the news that she was not eligible to audition as a pianist at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Thinking ahead, mom and dad added an advanced academic curriculum to their imp's 4 hours of daily piano practice. This otherwise detrimental blow served to prepare Jie for the kind of intellectual fast track and in-depth music thinking that enabled her to let pencils and manuscript papers slowly overtake the piano.
After six years of hard study, the new teen crashed again at an audition for the Shanghai Conservatory: the school didn't know quite what to do with this “not so orthodox” composer. Violent parental discussions about who was to blame for this weird kid got Jie shipped to a highly esteemed boarding school/prison for youngsters with special achievements in science. En route to incarceration, Jie sneaked three cassette tapes into her suitcase: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Considering Jie’s beginner’s luck of previous military escapes, the rest of the story pretty much tells itself. When you catch her saying “music is the difference between life and death”, believe her!
The delinquent student of science was repeatedly caught escaping College Physics courses for a few hours with the piano or reading Mozart biographies under a pile of calculus textbooks. Jie flabbergasted her teachers by winning a national science fair award with her “irrigation system for arid lands of China”. A major university offered her admission at their Physics department. “When it comes to a choice between life and death, the composer must always choose life!” said the reckless high school senior in front of the university officials.