Get to Know DCYOP – Rosanna Butterfield & Foster Wang

Get to Know DCYOP is a regular feature that introduces you to some of the many people who make DCYOP the amazing organization that it has been for over sixty years. Visit our blog regularly to see who you’ll meet next! 


Cellist Rosanna Butterfield and violinist Foster Wang are a teaching dynamic duo at DCYOP but did you know they are also real life partners?

Read our Q& A with Rosanna and Foster below to learn more about how they found themselves on the path to becoming professional musicians, what they love about teaching, and some of their favorite things both inside and outside of the rehearsal/practice room.

Be sure to also check out the video of them sharing a few surprising things you might not know about Ms. Butterfield and Mr. Wang!


Where did you grow up?

RB: I lived in England until I was 11 years old, at which point my family moved to Vancouver, Canada. I went to college in Houston, TX and have lived in the U.S. ever since.

FW: I grew up in Queens, New York.

How did you get started on your instrument?

RB: Both of my parents are professional singers, so I grew up with music in the house and spent a lot of time backstage at various opera theaters! My mom especially loves the cello, and she was keen for me to start lessons as soon as possible. I started with a private teacher when I was 5 years old.

FW: My parents are both violinists, so I didn’t have much of a choice when choosing an instrument. I started learning the violin at age four.

Did you always want to become a professional musician? What was your path like?

RB: At first, I found cello really challenging and wasn’t too keen on practicing. I preferred my ballet lessons where there were no steel strings to hold down! However, I really started to love playing the cello right around the time we moved to Canada and was lucky enough to study with an incredible teacher in Vancouver, Judy Fraser. With her guidance and encouragement, I began to focus on the idea of pursuing music as a career. My parents were very supportive, although they did try to nudge me towards a more “stable” profession…they knew firsthand that being a musician is tough! After working really hard throughout high school, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to Rice University where I studied with Norman Fischer.

FW: I always loved music growing up but was never entirely sure I wanted to pursue it professionally. A major turning point for me came during the summer between my sophomore and junior years at college. The student orchestra I was part of went on tour to South Korea, and that experience really cemented my passion for playing in an orchestra. I had studied Chemistry and Physics during my first two years of college, but after that summer, I switched to Music as my major.

Do you do other musical things outside of teaching?

RB: Alongside my work with DCYOP and teaching private lessons in my home, I perform as much as possible, and I love the variety of projects I get to be a part of here in the D.C. area. A few favorites from the past couple months include an arena show with The Eagles, the premiere of a new opera with UrbanArias, and a performance of Ravel’s piano trio with soprano saxophone!

FW: I’m a member of one of the military bands in D.C.

What do you like most about teaching?

RB: I learn so much from my students and love the challenge of teaching different types of learners. Forging a connection with each student and finding out how they learn best is what makes teaching exciting!

FW: I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of teaching. When I’m figuring out how best to address a student’s particular issue, I’m also teaching myself in a way.

Who is your favorite performer? Why?

RB: This is such a hard question! I love performers who are passionate about connecting with people from all different walks of life, and Yo-Yo Ma is the perfect example of someone with that generous spirit.

FW: Hard to choose just one! I really appreciate Yo-Yo Ma’s ability to communicate with the audience and his engagement with a wide variety of musical genres and traditions.

What us your favorite piece of music? Why?

RB: Another impossible question…but if I had to live with just one piece of music for the rest of my life, it would be Bach’s Goldberg Variations. As a child, I listened to it every night when I went to sleep, and all these years later I still hear new things every time I listen to it!

FW: Also hard to choose! So I’ll just say that it’s usually whatever I’m working on at the moment, which until very recently was Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat. Stravinsky is one of my favorite composers, and this piece is a great example of many of the things I love about Stravinsky’s music: his clever use of rhythm, interesting harmonies, and his ability to reinterpret standard musical forms like a chorale, tango, waltz, etc. and make them sound fresh and exciting.

Where is your favorite place to go for fun in DC?

RB: Foster and I love birding at Theodore Roosevelt Island. It became our second home during the pandemic, and is a wonderful refuge of calm in the middle of the city!

FW: Rosanna and I picked up birding as a hobby during the pandemic, and one of our favorite places in DC to explore is Theodore Roosevelt Island.

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