Women of Hopkins

Angelin Chang, a Grammy Award-winning piano virtuoso

Renowned pianist earned Doctor of Musical Arts degree at JHU's Peabody Conservatory

Angelin Chang is an internationally acclaimed pianist recognized for her technical and poetic brilliance. She became the first American female—and the first pianist of Asian descent—to win the Grammy for the Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra, for her recording of Oliver Messiaen's "Oiseaux Exotiques" (Exotic Birds) with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, conducted by John McLaughlin Williams.

Angelin Chang

Image caption: Angelin Chang

Her first thoughts after winning the Grammy: "Oh my goodness, this is so exciting! It actually happened! Oh, what am I going to say now?"

Chang was born in Muncie, Indiana, where she attended the Burris Laboratory School and received highest honors from Interlochen Arts Academy. Here debut performance as a piano soloist came at the age of 12 with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

Chang went on to earn her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts (French) from Ball State University, and a Master of Music along with a Distinguished Performer's Certificate from Indiana University. She continued her studies by earning the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Peabody Conservatory. She also holds a JD from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

She is the first American awarded the Premier Prix Piano and Premier Prix Musique de Chambre in the same year from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. Her concerts her held worldwide, making her the first Artist-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the first Academic Performing Artist for Yamaha Corporation of America.

Currently, Chang is Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Cleveland State University and Professor of Law at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She also serves on the faculty of the Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Law Academy. Previously she served on the piano faculty at Rutgers University.

Video credit: lyvian loh

Chang is an active chamber musician and performs frequently with legendary violinist Joseph de Pasquale, the de Pasquale String Quartet, and also with members of the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras. She has also performed at the U.S. Department of State, for the United Nations Women's Organization in Nepal, and for World AIDS Day before the U.N. secretary general in New York.

Her work with the Taubman Approach and Keyboard Wellness Seminar helps raise awareness amongst pianists to develop virtuosity and overcome fatigue, pain, and injury.

This profile comes from the Women of Hopkins exhibit, which honors 23 female trailblazers who have made a mark on society during or after their time at Johns Hopkins. The exhibit, launched in 2016, is on display at the Mattin Center on JHU's Homewood campus and also available online. To learn more about the selection process, and to nominate candidates for inclusion, visit women.jhu.edu/candidates.