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Ex-Flushing violin whiz keeps striving for excellence

Few will ever achieve the level of talent and expertise possessed by violin-virtuoso Christopher Wang. For the former Flushing resident, however, that is by no means an invitation to slow down.

A child prodigy who spent most of his adolescence in Flushing, Wang has trotted the globe in recent years seeking out ways to better perform and understand the music of the violin.

He was recently presented with Germany's prestigious Fritz Thyssen Prize, an award given to a young academic who has shown exemplary research in science or the humanities, for his research on 17th-century Dresden violin compositions.

Wang has spent the last three years in Germany, studying under Dresden University's chairman of musicology, Dr. Hans-Gunter Ottenberg. His recently published research examining the city of Dresden's musical contributions from the 17th century have won him critical acclaim and he is expected to launch an international series of lectures he hopes to kick off at Queens College later this year.

"The reason Dresden is so great is that it was a cultural metropolis," Wang said. "It was a mecca of art and culture. The music of the time reflects that."

For Wang, the research is integral to his continued development not only as an academic, but a musician.

"The more I can understand from an intellectual point of view, and not just an acrobatic point of view, the more I can express in the music," Wang said in a telephone interview.

"The greatest musicians, they can grab the attention of the audience," he said. "Their performance, it touches something in the audience. That's why people are willing to see them, not only willing but they want to see them over and over again — because the music touches them."

Wang said he is inspired by the support he has received throughout his life and feels it is his calling to work diligently to show he is making the most of the natural talent bestowed upon him.

That support began nearly two years ago when, as a Flushing resident, he attended Flushing High School and received several cash donations from members of the Flushing Rotary Club, a charitable organization that targets needy cases in the community.

The donations allowed him to showcase his talent to the world by entering competitions and traveling across the globe to perform.

"My heart has always been here and always will be here," he said of Flushing. "The people from the Rotary are people you meet once in a lifetime. Whatever stardom and prestige I have now I'm very grateful for."

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, ext. 138.

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