Donna Weng Friedman: Being a Role Model | Episode 19

Award winning pianist Donna Weng Friedman enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, curator, producer and app developer.   Her album Heritage and Harmony: Silver Linings, featuring exclusively AAPI/BIPOC artists, aims to promote understanding and tolerance and combat racism, with all proceeds donated to an organization that supports the AAPI community and fights against racism.  Recorded and released during the pandemic, the album was presented with two Silver Medals at the 2022 Global Music Awards. 

In collaboration with WQXR, Donna created and produced Heritage and Harmony, a virtual concert series in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month.  As an American of Chinese descent, her work with Friends of Thirteen on  Asian Americans of New York & New Jersey | WLIW21 – expanding the story-sharing website, highlighting first-person stories about the Asian American experience in our region- was not only meaningful to her, but to her family, friends and community as well.

She is the co-creator and co-host of HER/MUSIC;HER/STORY, a mini-series on WQXR as well as a concert series that shines a light on women composers, past and present.  Donna was awarded a New York Women Composers grant for 2022. She was the guest speaker on TEDx Santa Barbara’s series Making Waves: Conversations with Influencers and Disruptors. Donna is the Artistic Advisor of Ariel Rivka Dance, an all-female dance company. Together they will share stories of heritage and harmony through music and dance.

In January and April 2021, Donna was the featured guest artist on the National Women’s History Museum’s series NWHM Presents: Sundays@Home, honoring women whose activism and talents serve to inspire others.  On March 8th, 2022, she launched a new education program in collaboration with the National Women’s History Museum called Heritage and Harmony: Her Art, Her Voice, featuring leading female BIPOC role models in the arts who share their stories of heritage, their challenges and their triumphs, as they seek to inspire and empower future generations of groundbreaking young women. 

Donna has performed in concert halls worldwide, and appeared as soloist with major symphony orchestras, including the Atlanta, Philadelphia and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras. 

The curator of the Donna Weng Friedman ’80 Master Class Series at Princeton University, she is also a member of Princeton University Music Department’s Advisory Council.  Donna received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University where she was a University Scholar and a Master of Music Degree from the Juilliard School. She had the honor of studying with the great pedagogue Nadia Boulanger, as well as the incomparable pianist Radu Lupu.

She was the music supervisor and recording artist for the award-winning film documentary “Frames of Life” as well as for the documentaries “Living Liberty” and “Morris Engle: The Independent”.  Ms. Weng Friedman created “The Music Bee Club” interactive classical music app series for children ages 2-8 featuring world class musicians, such as principal cellist of the NY Philharmonic Carter Brey and flutist Elizabeth Mann, produced by twentyone-time Grammy Award winner David Frost.

I really admire in her story the instinct to take action, the willingness to use her strengths to create change in the world. How can you imagine doing something similar? 

Find Donna at her websiteFacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Building a creative business? You need to check out the Ultimate Music Business Summit this January! I’ll be presenting, and so will over two dozen other musicpreneurs! 

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Theme music and audio editing by DreamVance.

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I’m your host, Jennet Ingle. I love you all. Stay safe out there!

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