Chen Yi (composer)

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Chen Yi
MA
Native name 陈怡
Born (1953-04-04) April 4, 1953 (age 65)
Guangzhou, China
Occupation(s) Composer, Violinist
Instruments Violin
Years active 1970–present

Chen Yi (simplified Chinese: 陈怡; traditional Chinese: 陳怡; pinyin: Chén Yí) (born April 4, 1953) is a Chinese violinist and composer of contemporary classical music. She was the first Chinese woman to receive a Master of Arts (M.A.) in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Chen was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition Si Ji (Four Seasons), and has received awards from the Koussevistky Music Foundation[1] and American Academy of Arts and Letters (Lieberson Award)[2], as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts[3]. In 2010, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School [4] and in 2012, she was awarded the Brock Commission from the American Choral Directors Association.

Early life[edit]

Chen was born and raised in Guangzhou, China into a talented family. Her parents were doctors and musicians; her mother played the piano, and her father was a violinist. Her older sister was a child prodigy, and both she and their younger brother continue to work as professional musicians in China.

Chen began studying piano at the age of three, heavily influenced by the music of Western composers such as Bach and Mozart. However, once the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, Western attitudes were severely shunned and arts were opposed. For ten years, education came to a halt and people were relocated to work in large communes in countryside. Chen's father and older sister were sent away, but she managed to stay in her hometown a while longer and continued to practice music, although she was forced to stuff a blanket inside her piano in order to dampen the sound and play her violin with a mute. When she was 15 years old, the family house was searched, all possessions were taken, and the rest of her family was dispersed to different locations to perform compulsory labor in the countryside.

Chen used her time spent laboring in the countryside to learn and appreciate Chinese folk culture. Her connection with Chinese music would prove a useful tool in finding her own voice for her musical compositions in later life. At age seventeen, she returned to Guangzhou and began working as concertmaster in the orchestra of the Beijing Opera Troupe in Guangzhou.

Career[edit]

Chen lived for many years in New York City, and studied composition with Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University, earning a DMA with distinction. Her husband is the composer Zhou Long. As of 2006, both Chen and Zhou are professors of composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Alongside a great number of orchestral works, Chen has also made many contributions to the choral repertoire and the chamber music repertoire, including works written for traditional Chinese instruments. Chen's works are published by the Theodore Presser Company.

Works[edit]

Solo[edit]

  • Ba Ban, for piano (1999)
  • Bamboo Dance, for solo piano (2014)
  • Duo Ye, for piano (2000)
  • Guessing, for piano (2000)
  • Ji-Dong-Nuo, for piano (2007)
  • Jing Marimba, for solo marimba (2010)
  • Memory, for solo cello (2011)
  • Memory, for solo flute (2011)
  • Memory, for solo violin (2011)
  • Monologue (Impressions on 'The True Story Of Ah Q'), for unaccompanied alto saxophone (2000)
  • Monologue (Impressions on 'The True Story of Ah Q'), for unaccompanied B-flat clarinet (2000)
  • Northern Scenes, for solo piano (2015)
  • Percussion Concerto, percussion with piano (1998)
  • Points, for solo pipa
  • Shuo Chang, for solo guitar (2014)
  • Singing in the Mountain, for piano (2005)
  • Two Chinese Bagatelles, piano solo for children (2000)
  • Variations on "Awariguli", for piano solo (2011)

Chamber Ensemble (2 Performers)[edit]

  • Bright Moonlight, for voice and piano (2004)
  • China West Suite, for two pianos
  • China West Suite, for marimba and piano (2009)
  • Ancient Dances, for pipa and percussion
  • Meditation, two songs for voice and piano (2006)
  • Chinese Ancient Dances, for B-flat clarinet and piano (2006)
  • Chinese Ancient Dances, for soprano saxophone and piano (2006)
  • Three Bagatelles from China West, for B-flat (or E-flat) clarinet and piano (2009)
  • Fisherman's Song, for violin and piano (1999)
  • The Golden Flute, solo flute with piano reduction (1999)
  • Happy Tune (III. Dou Duo from 'Three Bagatelles'), for two cellos
  • Romance and Dance, for violin and piano (2001)
  • Eight Visions, a new anthology for flute and piano (2009)
  • From Old Peking Folklore, for violin and piano (2009)
  • Three Bagatelles from China West, duet for flute and piano
  • Seven Muses, a contemporary anthology for flute and piano (1986)
  • The Soulful and The Perpetual, for alto saxophone and piano (2013)
  • Three Bagatelles from China West, for flute and guitar
  • Three Bagatelles from China West, for contrabass and piano
  • Romance of Hsiao and Ch'In, for cello and piano (2001)
  • Three Bagatelles from China West, for violin and cello
  • Ox Tail Dance (No. 1 from Chinese Ancient Dances), for horn and piano (2006)
  • Three Bagatelles from China West, for flute and B-flat clarinet
  • Three Bagatelles, for guanzi and sheng

Chamber Ensemble (3 or More Performers)[edit]

  • As in a Dream, for violin, cello, and soprano
  • As in a Dream, for soprano, pipa, and zheng
  • As Like A Raging Fire, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano
  • At the Kansas City Chinese New Year Concert, for string quartet
  • Blue Dragon Sword Dance (from "At the Kansas City Chinese New Year Concert"), for string quartet
  • Burning, for string quartet (2004)
  • Chinese Fables, for erhu, pipa, cello, and percussion
  • Eleanor's Gift, for cello, percussion, and piano
  • Feng, for woodwind quintet
  • Fiddle Suite, for huqin and string quartet
  • From the Path of Beauty, for string quartet
  • The Han Figurines, for violin, B-flat clarinet, B-flat tenor saxophone, double bass, piano, and percussion
  • Happy Rain On A Spring Night, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano
  • Joy of the Reunion, for oboe, violin, viola, and double bass
  • Near Distance, for chamber ensemble
  • Night Thoughts, for flute, cello, and piano (2004)
  • Ning, for violin, cello, and pipa
  • Not Alone, for SATB saxophone quartet (2017)
  • Qi, for flute, cello, percussion, and piano
  • Septet, for erhu, pipa, percussion, and saxophone quartet
  • Shuo, for string quartet
  • Song In Winter, for di, zheng, and harpsichord
  • Song In Winter, for flute, zheng, piano, and percussion
  • Sound of the Five, for solo cello and string quartet
  • Sparkle (Octet), for flute (doubling piccolo), E-flat clarinet, two percussionists, piano, violin, cello and double bass
  • Suite for Cello and Chamber Winds
  • Three Dances from China South, for dizi, erhu, pipa, and zheng
  • Tibetan Tunes, for piano trio (2008)
  • Tunes From My Home, trio for violin, cello, and piano
  • Woodwind Quintet
  • Woodwind Quintet No. 3 (Suite From China West for Woodwind Quintet)
  • Wu Yu, for flute, clarinet, bassoon, percussion, violin, and cello
  • Wu Yu, for flute, clarinet, oboe, violin, viola, violoncello, and contrabass
  • Xian Shi, for viola, piano, and percussion
  • YangKo, for solo violin and two percussionists

Vocal/Choral[edit]

  • Angel Island Passages, for children's choir and string quartet
  • Arirang, for a cappella SATB chorus (1999)
  • The Bronze Taotie (Movement 1 From "From The Path Of Beauty"), for mixed chorus
  • Capriccio, for SATB chorus, solo percussion, and organ
  • Chinese Mountain Songs, for a cappella treble chorus (2002)
  • Chinese Poems, for SSAA chorus (2000)
  • Distance Can't Keep Us Two Apart, for a capella SATB chorus (2012)
  • From the Path of Beauty, for SATB chorus and string quartet
  • A Horseherd's Mountain Song (From "Two Chinese Folk Songs"), for a cappella SATB chorus (2006)
  • I Hear The Siren's Call, for a cappella SATB chorus (2013)
  • Know You How Many Petals Falling?, for a cappella SATB chorus (2003)
  • Landscape, for a cappella SATB chorus (2004)
  • Let's Reach A New Height, for a cappella SATB chorus (2013)
  • Looking At The Sea, for a cappella SSA chorus
  • Sakura, Sakura, for a cappella SATBB chorus (1999)
  • A Set Of Chinese Folk Songs, for men's chorus
  • A Set Of Chinese Folk Songs (Volume 1), for SATB chorus and optional piano (1994)
  • A Set Of Chinese Folk Songs (Volume 2), for SATB chorus and optional piano (1994)
  • A Set Of Chinese Folk Songs (Volume 3), for SATB chorus and optional piano (1998)
  • Shady Grove, for a cappella SATB chorus (2004)
  • A Single Bamboo Can Easily Bend (From "Two Chinese Folk Songs"), for a cappella SATB chorus (2006)
  • Spring Dreams, for a cappella SSAATTBB chorus (1999)
  • Spring Rain, for a cappella SATB chorus (2011)
  • Tang Poems, for a cappella male choir
  • To The New Millennium, for soprano solo, mezzo-soprano solo, and a cappella SATB chorus (2002)
  • Two Chinese Folk Songs (1. The Flowing Stream, 2. The Sun Is Rising With Our Joy), for SSAATTBB chorus
  • The West Lake, for a cappella SATB chorus (2004)
  • With Flowers Blooming, for a cappella SSA chorus (2011)
  • Written On A Rainy Night (From Tang Poems), for a cappella SATB chorus (1995)
  • Written On A Rainy Night, for a cappella men's chorus
  • Xuan, for a cappella SATB chorus (2002)

Chorus and Ensemble[edit]

  • Chinese Myths Cantata
  • Early Spring, for mixed choir and chamber ensemble
  • From the Path of Beauty, for mixed choir and string quartet
  • KC Capriccio, for wind ensemble and mixed chorus
  • A Set of Chinese Folk Songs, for children's SA(T) chorus and strings
  • Tang Poems Cantata, for SATB chorus and chamber orchestra

Orchestra[edit]

  • Blue, Blue Sky, for orchestra (2012)
  • Caramoor's Summer, for chamber orchestra (2014)
  • Celebration, for orchestra (2014)
  • Duo Ye, for chamber orchestra
  • Duo Ye No. 2, for full orchestra
  • Faith and Perseverance, for orchestra
  • Fountains Of KC, for orchestra
  • Ge Xu (Antiphony), for orchestra (2014)
  • Jing Diao, for orchestra
  • The Linear
  • Momentum, for orchestra
  • Mount A Long Wind, for orchestra
  • Overture for Orchestra
  • Prelude and Fugue, for chamber orchestra
  • Prospect Overture
  • Rhyme of Fire, for orchestra
  • Shuo, for string orchestra
  • Si Ji (Four Seasons), for orchestra
  • Sprout, for string orchestra
  • Symphony 'Humen 1839', for orchestra
  • Symphony No. 2, for orchestra
  • Symphony No. 3, for orchestra
  • Tone Poem, for chamber orchestra
  • Tu, for orchestra

Orchestra with Soloist(s)[edit]

  • The Ancient Beauty
  • The Ancient Chinese Beauty, for recorders and string orchestra
  • Ba Yin (The Eight Sounds), for saxophone quartet and string orchestra
  • Ballad, Dance and Fantasy, for cello and orchestra
  • Chinese Folk Dance Suite, for violin and orchestra
  • Chinese Rap, for violin and orchestra
  • Concerto for Reeds, for oboe, sheng, and chamber orchestra
  • Dunhuang Fantasy, concerto for organ and chamber wind ensemble
  • Eleanor's Gift, for solo cello and orchestra
  • Fiddle Suite, for huqin and orchestra
  • Fiddle Suite, for huqin and string orchestra
  • Four Spirits, concerto for piano and orchestra
  • The Golden Flute, concerto for flute and orchestra
  • Percussion Concerto, for solo percussion and orchestra
  • Piano Concerto
  • Romance and Dance, for two solo violins and string orchestra
  • Romance of Hsiao and Ch'in (First Movement of "Romance and Dance"), for two violins and string orchestra
  • Southern Scenes, a double concerto for flute, pipa, and orchestra
  • Spring in Dresden, for violin and orchestra
  • Suite for Cello and Chamber Winds
  • Xian Shi, for viola and orchestra

Band/Wind Ensemble[edit]

  • Ba Yin (The Eight Sounds), for saxophone quartet and wind ensemble
  • Dragon Rhyme, for symphonic band
  • Suite From China West, for wind ensemble
  • Tu, for wind ensemble
  • Wind, for wind ensemble

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Koussevitzky Music Foundation | Complete List of Grants". www.koussevitzky.org. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  2. ^ "Chen Yi | Theodore Presser Company". www.presser.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  3. ^ "Chen Yi | Theodore Presser Company". www.presser.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  4. ^ "The New School Commencement to be Held on May 21". 2010-05-17.

External links[edit]