Maryland Opera Studio Presents Reading of Scalia/Ginsburg, Composed by UMD Carey School of Law Alumnus Derrick Wang

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CONTACT: Missy McTamney

Constitutional case law is the unlikely, yet dramatic and dynamic source of inspiration for a newly written opera that is already generating excitement and national interest.

The University of Maryland School of Music’s Maryland Opera Studio (MOS) will present a developmental reading of composer Derrick Wang’s opera Scalia/Ginsburg, inspired by the opinions of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.  The reading will be held on Friday, February 14 at 7:30PM in the Clarice Smith Center’s Gildenhorn Recital Hall.

In Scalia/Ginsburg  the Justices are put on trial by a mysterious Higher Power, and the two colleagues must navigate their differences and join forces to win their freedom.  Although, in real life, Justices Scalia and Ginsburg are often ideologically opposed, they are good and long-time friends.  Fittingly, they share a common love of opera.

"Derrick Wang had the inspiration to bring two of the greatest diametrically opposed minds of our time together, using the one thing they agree on: opera,” said Nicholas I. J. Olcott, Interim Director of the MOS.  “It's a wise and witty look at these two brilliant people and their unlikely friendship. It's also possibly the perfect opera for Washington!"

About Derrick Wang

Baltimore native Derrick Wang is an award-winning composer, librettist and pianist.  He began teaching himself piano at age three and composition at the age of four.  At age 17, Wang composed his musical Prom, which won a showcase at Center Stage’s Young Playwrights Festival. 

After earning his bachelor’s degree in music at Harvard University, where he composed scores for the historic Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Wang earned his Master of Music degree in composition at Yale University.  He was recruited to assist composers and lyricists developing such new musicals as Finding Neverland and The Book of Mormon.

Following his interest in intellectual property law in the U.S. and China, and seeking new ways of creating and producing dramatic work, Wang then earned his J.D. at the UMD Carey School of Law. While Wang is now a licensed attorney, he works full time as a composer and speaker on music, law, and the future of the performing arts.

About Scalia/Ginsburg

The opera was inspired by the opinions of Justices Ginsburg and Scalia, quoting and paraphrasing their influential opinions using Wang’s own novel technique of “operatic precedent”.  Just as a court opinion analyzes previous cases to develop a new decision, the opera revels in specific references to operas of the past, transforming them into new and effervescent commentaries on music and the law.

In June, 2013, Wang was invited to the Supreme Court to present selections from Scalia/Ginsburg.  The Washington National Opera will present material from Scalia/Ginsburg later this spring.

The February 14th presentation will also include a partially staged reading of Love/Hate by Jack Perla and Rob Bailis.


More information can be found on our web site.  This event is FREE, and tickets are not required.



Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, the School of Music is a dynamic arts community committed to cultivating and transforming musical traditions and preparing students for meaningful engagement with their art, their culture and the world community.  The School of Music, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library share a space within the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, servicing the university and community.