Interview with Qiana Yang ’19, piano

Qiana Yang ’19, is a music and math major from Princeton, New Jersey.

So, you’re a music and math double major – a very popular combination among Williams musicians! Do you think those two subjects have something in common that draw students to them?

I think that people who are music and math double majors usually really want to do music, but they also feel like they’re supposed to get an education in something else at Williams. So, why not math?

When did you start playing the piano?

I started when I was 4, because I was put in a performing arts boarding school. And I would practice 4 hours a day, even at age 4, because I was in boarding school and in boarding school you don’t have anything to do. Especially if you don’t want to play games with your peers.

Well, it seems like that performing arts school really shaped the course of your life!

Not really, I actually didn’t even think about doing music as a career until last year.

What did you plan to do at Williams before then?

I wanted to be a philosophy major and then become a philosophy professor, and argue with people all the time.

How did you change your mind about that?

In freshman and sophomore years, I took two philosophy classes, and I realized that I don’t care about philosophy at all, or about the realities of space and time in general. Maybe they exist, but I don’t care. I just wanted to do music.

Well, the world of music is lucky to have you. Can you tell me about the piece you’re playing?

The Schumann Concerto? I really like this concerto because it’s more like a piece of chamber music than like a virtuosic display. And I enjoy doing chamber music – I think that’s what I want to do after I graduate, instead of being a soloist. The beauty about this concerto is that it’s more of a conversation between the soloist and the orchestra.

I can’t wait to hear it! So, you’re famous in the music department for your elaborate dreams. Have you had any dreams about music recently?

Speaks for 20 minutes about a dream involving dozens of students and faculties in the Williams music department trapped in an alternate reality.

Wow! Forget music, have you considered being a novelist?

I tried writing novels, but they weren’t strange enough – they weren’t as strange as my real life. Plus, they were very incoherent.

Come hear the wildly creative Qiana Yang play Schumann’s Piano Concerto on April 20th with the Berkshire Symphony!