Award winning pianist Donna Weng Friedman enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, curator, producer, filmmaker and app developer. She was recently inducted into the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame on October 5th, 2023.
Donna wrote, directed and produced the award winning documentary short, NEVER FADE AWAY featuring Chun Wai Chan, the first principal dancer of Chinese descent in New York City Ballet’s 75-year history. NEVER FADE AWAY is the true story of how a radio and a waltz changed her immigrant father's life. History-making dancer Chun Wai Chan portrays her father as a young man and dances a riveting pas de deux -choreographed exquisitely by Ariel Grossman- with Xiaoxiao Cao. The short film premiered at NYU"s Jack Crystal Theater in celebration of AAPI and Immigrant Heritage Month in May, and has since won thirty awards from film festivals worldwide. Here is the teaser for Never Fade Away.
A short clip of Never Fade Away was shown on the big screen at Times Square on May 1st in honor of AAPI Heritage Month. Donna has since been featured on CBS Morning Newscast with Cindy Hsu, ABC Eyewitness News, NBC News 4 NY, WPIX 11 News with Magee Hickey, WCBS News Radio and Asian American Life.
Donna is the inaugural winner of the Women Who Innovate Grant 2023, awarded by the International Alliance for Women in Music, Global Initiatives committee for her "impactful and meaningful" work.
Her album Heritage and Harmony: Silver Linings, featuring exclusively AAPI/BIPOC artists, garnered two Silver Medals at the 2022 Global. Music Awards. Intended as a response to the wave of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals, her pandemic EP aims to promote understanding and tolerance among people of all backgrounds.
In collaboration with WQXR, Donna created and produced Heritage and Harmony, a virtual concert series in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Her story was featured on Asian Americans of New York & New Jersey | WLIW21, a segment of which has been aired on PBS numerous times.
Donna was awarded a 2022 New York Women Composer’s grant. She is the co-creator and co-host of HER/MUSIC;HER/STORY with soprano Allison Charney, a mini-series on WQXR as well as a concert series that shines a light on women composers, past and present. 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.
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 virtual 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. She has collaborated with world-class artists including Carter Brey, Anthony McGill, Elizabeth Mann, Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Paul Neubauer, Marya Martin and Kelly Hall-Tompkins.
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 is currently serving as Vice Chair to the Friends of Thirteen Advocacy Board/WNET. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University where she was a University Scholar and a Master’s of Music Degree from the Juilliard School where she was a winner of the highly coveted Gina Bachauer Piano Competition as well as the William Petschek full scholarship award. Donna had the honor and privilege of studying with the great pedagogue Nadia Boulanger and the inimitable pianist Radu Lupu.
Donna 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 principal cellist of the NY Philharmonic Carter Brey and flutist Elizabeth Mann, produced by twenty-one-time Grammy Award winner David Frost.