The fifth episode of docu-series Wonder Women: Shaping the Future by Christina Rose and MirrorWater Entertainment features female orchestra conductor Tianyi Lu. Premiering just a few weeks ago and now available for streaming on the MWE website, the series is about six young women from around the globe working in underrepresented industries (15% or less of a given profession having women in key positions) and their journey, hardships, impact and vision for future generations.
“I’m so excited to debut Wonder Women: Shaping the Future to global audiences,” comments founder Christina Rose. “The series has been a true labor of love for me and everyone involved, and I cannot wait to share the stories of these amazing women with the whole world.” Her global focus is part of the new Hollyworld movement.
Tianyi’s story is especially unique and hit me at the core. As a child of immigrants, she digs deep in this episode about the sacrifices her parents made. Born in Shanghai, she was raised in New Zealand from a young age, experiencing months at a time being away from her parents. In one powerful scene, she articulately explains the sadness as she was separated from her parents for months at a time, which is eternity for a young child.
These powerful dynamics and immigrant stories were surprisingly just as much of a focus in Christina’s well crafted episode. Christina ensured we saw Tianyi “on top of her game”, explaining the compromises she makes as she leads groups of musicians in an orchestra, who have ideas different from hers. In addition, this gender dynamic was fascinating and displayed in a powerful scene where one of her violin players challenged her on decisions she made.
What was most impactful in that scene was Tianyi’s calm in the midst of emotion coming out from that disagreement. Artists and musicians have strong emotions, but that scene showed Tianyi’s professionalism and calmness, a trait displayed by the most successful.
But Tianyi, despite all her technicalities, was not depicted one dimensionally as a stoic workhorse. It was the powerful story of identity and self acceptance that took Tianyi to the next level, including finding the piece that catalyzed her into finding her own identity and voice in this male-dominated field.
She spoke confidently, as one who has truly transcended roadblocks in her younger days, about growing up wanting blonde hair and blue eyes and waking up to her black hair and brown eyes, never getting her wish. This is an amazing dynamic that is the common thread of many Asian Americans and those who grew up in places like New Zealand, Australia or other Anglo-centric societies. Tianyi’s strength in speaking up and her pride over traditional Chinese music she grew up with from her parents, as well as her creativity in combining it with the Western music that also became part of her identity, was powerful and displayed in a final beautiful piece that Christina Rose chose to feature as the climax of the episode. It was a victory dance of sorts, displaying Tianyi’s incredible maturity and talent culminating in this fusion piece.
Tianyi was not ignoring of her fear, but instead, embraced it. She said so powerfully, “I choose to lean into my fear, and that’s where growth begins.” Such wise words in a society today that can choose to paralyze itself through negativity and perceptions of victimhood. Tianyi’s emotional intelligence is the key to her success.
Finally, it was a sense of daring to be different that gave her the audacity to pursue this male dominated field, as she rattled off names of the top conductors in the world, all male. She deserves a place there, but thus far it’s been uncharted territory. We are excited to see her on this journey as she defines her own path, after finding her personal power, so perfectly captured in Christina Rose’s great work and tribute to global talent and impact. Two thumbs up.