Lu Yen (Chinese: 盧炎; pinyin: Lú Yán; 20 November 1930, Nanjing, China - 1 October 2008 Taipei, Taiwan) was a Chinese-born Taiwanese composer.
Yen was educated in National Taiwan Normal University, Mannes College, City University of New York, and University of Pennsylvania. He received Taiwan's National Cultural Award in 1993 and 1998. As a pupil of William Jay Sydeman, Mario Davidovsky, George Rochberg and George Crumb, Lu was well known of his atonal writings combining counterpoint skills. George Rochberg commented that Lu's music "has a unique scent". Lu wrote in his article "My Artistic Journey" that he wished to write "music praising mother nature's great beauty and powers." During 1967-2008, Lu wrote 6 solo instrumental works, 70+ chamber ensemble works (excluding art songs), 5 Chinese chamber works, 16 orchestral works, 1 Chinese orchestra piece, and 11 art songs. Among these works, there was a repeated theme about the sound of bell, which Lu always remembered from his childhood in the Jiangnan region of China. Two biographies were published in Taiwan, Lu Yen: A Cold Fire of Music, written by Taiwanese poet Chen Li (陳黎) in 1997 and A Poetic Journey of Nostalgia, by Canadian-Taiwanese composer Shyh-ji Chew (潘世姬) and Taiwanese composer Janet Jieru Chen (陳玠如) in 2004, both published by Taiwan’s China Times Publishing Co. Digitalization data of Lu’s art song manuscripts and analytic entries are available at Nation Music Archive and Taiwan Music Center of the National Center for Traditional Arts, Taipei, Taiwan. Soochow University (Taipei, Taiwan), where Lu has taught music composition and counterpoint for 30 years, has a memorial room and a growing collection of Lu’s manuscripts. Lu’s music could be heard in albums published by Music Forum, International Society for Contemporary Music-Taiwan Section, Asian Composers League – Taiwanese Composers Association and National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.
Presented My Artistic Journey in Ethno Music Composition Forum in March.
Yen Lu 75 th Birthday Concert was held on November 20th at Music Forum’s Recital Hall, in which Four Preludes for Piano (1979), Piano Four-Hand (1987), Two Preludes for Piano (1999), Impromptu for Piano (2005), and Song for Cello (1997) were presented along with students’ music compositions as gifts. Pianists Daming Zhu (諸大明), Lina Yeh (葉綠娜), Rolf-Peter Wille, Mei-Ya Lo (羅玫雅) Hsin-Jung Hsieh (謝欣容), and cellist Hsien-Liang Lien (連憲良) joined this concert.
Married for the first time in life, with Ms. Ya-shih (a.k.a. Alice, Su-Chih, Shih-Ya) Cherng.
^Chen Li, Yen Lu: A Cold Fire of Music (盧炎：冷艷的音樂火燄) ISBN 957-13-2978-9, pp. 92-93: ...Yen Lu entered University of Pennsylvania in September, 1977. He remembered Rochberg asked him, 'You are already a professional composer, why are you here?' He answered, ' I am still searching in the dark.' Rochberg followed, 'Not only you, I am searching in the dark, too.' Lu had always remembered this dialogue clearly. Rochberg and Crumb both gave Lu great influences by telling him, 'write what's in your heart, no matter it's beautiful or not.' Rochberg also told Lu, 'Your work has a unique scent.' these words greatly encouraged Lu and gave him confidence on the lonely road of searching his own music. (盧炎是在一九七七年九月進入費城賓州大學音樂研究所的。盧炎猶記得洛克柏格問他：「你已經是專業的作曲家了，為什麼還要來學校？」盧炎答曰：「我覺得自己還在黑夜裡摸索。」洛克柏格跟著說：「不只是你呀，我也還在黑暗裡摸索呢。」這句話盧炎一直清楚記在心裡。洛克柏格與克蘭姆都給了盧炎觀念上極大的影響，他們告訴盧炎「作你心裡想作的東西，不管那音樂美夠不夠美」。洛克柏格曾對盧炎說：「你的作品具有獨特的芳香。」這給盧炎很大的鼓勵和自信，讓他更甘心安於寂寞，勤奮、持續地尋找他自己的音樂道路。)