Victor Wang, Principal Flute
Are you a native Charlottean?
I am a native upstate New Yorker, and I moved to Charlotte in 2016 to join the symphony. I love the city and am happy to consider myself a Charlottean now!
What was your musical upbringing like?
I started the flute at the age of 9 in a wonderful New York state public school band program. Two years later, I began private lessons and was fortunate to have a great flute teacher who taught me all the fundamentals of the flute, and perhaps more importantly, she taught me to love the sound of the flute and the experience of making music.
What are the challenges and opportunities unique to your instrument?
The flute is among the highest sounding instruments in the orchestra, and the natural tendency of the flute is to get louder as the notes get higher. So, often
in order to achieve a beautiful blended wind sound, we flute players have to be extra mindful not to play too loudly, particularly when we are playing towards the top of our range. However, there are other times when we really have to belt it out to be heard. After all, there are only three of us, and we are often competing against dozens of string players!
Could you describe your job within the Symphony?
As a principal player, I think a big part of my job is to be a point of contact with the other sections and with the conductor and to play clearly and confidently enough that my colleagues in the flute section and I can play in a unified way. When I am playing a more exposed solo passage, I try to remember that I have an opportunity to communicate with audience members (and my colleagues in the orchestra) who are listening with my own personal voice. It can feel like a lot of pressure, but it is also very rewarding!
Can you describe what you’re thinking and feeling right before a concert starts?
I am usually just trying to relax and clear my headspace, and I like to chat with my neighbors on stage a little bit. Then there is usually a kick of adrenaline right as the concert is starting.
If you weren’t a classical musician, what would you be doing?
For most of my life, I assumed my future lay in the sciences. I always had an interest in math and science in high school, and I even majored in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology in college. I had also been actively playing the flute through high school and college, and I eventually switched my focus to music after realizing I wouldn't be happy with a career in biology if it meant I wouldn't have as much music in my life