Chen Yi (b. April 4, 1953, Guangzhou). Chinese-born American composer of orchestral, chamber, choral, and piano works that have been performed throughout the world.
Ms. Chen began violin and piano studies with Zheng Ri-hua and Li Su-xin at age three, but the Cultural Revolution interrupted her musical progress in 1966. She later studied composition with Wu Zu-qiang at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing from 1978-86, where she earned her MA, as the first Chinese woman to receive this degree in music. She then studied composition with Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University from 1986-93 and there earned her DMA with distinction. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Lawrence University in 2002.
Among her many honors in China are First Prize in a national competition in China (1985, for Duo Ye), First Prize in the composition competition of a children's piano competition in Beijing (1985, for Yu Diao) and First Prize in a traditional music competition of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing (1986, for Xie Zi). Her honors in the USA include the Lili Boulanger Award from the Women's Philharmonic and the NEA Composer Fellowship (both 1994), as well as the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Sorel Medal for Excellence in Music from the Center for Women in Music at the University of New York (all 1996). She has also received the CalArts Alpert Award (1997), the Eddie Medora King Composition Prize from the University of Texas and the Adventurous Programming Award from ASCAP (for Music from China) (both 1999) and the Charles Ives Living Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2001-04). Her most recent honors include the ASCAP Concert Music Award (2001) and the Elise Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2002).
Numerous ensembles and orchestras in China, Germany, Singapore, and the USA have commissioned her and she has received many grants. Her chamber music was featured in Sound and Silence, a series of ten films on contemporary music co-produced by ISCM (1989), and she was profiled in the documentary film Chen Yi in America (A Cantonese in New York) (2002).
Ms. Chen is also active in other positions. She served as a composer to and concertmaster with the Beijing Opera Troupe from 1970-78 and later served as composer-in-residence to the Women's Philharmonic, the male chorus Chanticleer and the Aptos Creative Arts Program in San Francisco from 1993-96. She has served on the advisory councils of the American Composers Orchestra since 1993, the International Alliance of Women in Music since 1995 and the Walden School since 2000 and on the boards of directors of Meet the Composer since 1997 and Chamber Music America since 2002. She founded the bilingual newsletter of Music from China in 1991 and has since served as its co-editor.
She taught composition, multicultural analysis and the orchestral works of Claude Debussy at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University from 1996-98 and has taught as the Lorena Searcey Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor in Music Composition at the University of Missouri at Kansas City since 1998. She was the Karel Husa Visiting Professor at Ithaca College in 2002-03 and has guest-lectured throughout China and the USA.
She is married to the composer Zhou Long.
Theodore Presser publishes her music.
E-mail address: ChenYi@aol.com
Website (Music from China): http://www.musicfromchina.org
Website (publisher): http://www.presser.com/composers/info.cfm?Name=CHENYI
Website (schedule): http://hometown.aol.com/chenyi/myhomepage/profile.html
COMPLETE LIST OF WORKS
ORCHESTRAL: Xian Shi (concerto), viola, orchestra, 1983; Duo Ye, small orchestra (flute, oboe, E-flat clarinet, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, timpani, strings), 1985 (version of piano work); Sprout, string orchestra, 1986; Two Sets of Wind and Percussion Instruments, small orchestra (piccolo, bass clarinet, 15 brass, timpani, 6 percussion), 1986; Symphony No. 1, large orchestra, 1986; Duo Ye No. 2, 1987; Overture, Chinese orchestra, 1989; Overture No. 2, Chinese orchestra, 1990; Concerto, piano, large orchestra, 1992; Pipa Rhyme, pipa, small orchestra (14 players), 1993; Symphony No. 2, large orchestra, 1993; The Linear, large orchestra, 1994; Ge Xu, 1994; Shuo, string orchestra, 1994; Romance of Hsiao and Ch'in, 2 violins, string orchestra, 1995 (also versions for erhu, piano; cello, piano; violin, piano; also incorporated into Romance and Dance); The Golden Flute, flute, orchestra, 1997; Fiddle Suite, huqin (bowed Chinese instrument), string orchestra, 1997 (also versions for huqin, string quartet; huqin, string quartet, double bass; huqin, orchestra, 2000)
ORCHESTRAL: Romance and Dance, 2 violins, string orchestra, 1998 (incorporates Romance of Hsiao and Ch'in; also version for violin, piano); Concerto, percussion, large orchestra, 1998; Momentum, large orchestra, 1998; Eleanor's Gift (concerto), cello, orchestra, 1998, revised 1999; Spring Festival, symphonic band, 1999; Chinese Folk Dance Suite, violin, orchestra, 2000; Ba Yin, 4 saxophones, string orchestra, 2001; Tu, large orchestra, 2002 (also version for symphonic band, 2003-04); Caramoor's Summer, 2003; Ballad, Dance and Fantasy, cello, large orchestra, 2003; Symphony No. 3, 'My Musical Journey to America', large orchestra, 2004
CHAMBER MUSIC: Fisherman Song, violin, piano, 1980; Xie Zi, 2 di zi (Chinese bamboo flutes), sheng (Chinese mouth organ), liuqin (plucked Chinese instrument), sanxian (Chinese lute), zheng (Chinese zither), 1985; Quintet, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1987; Near Distance, flute (+ alto flute), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1988; The Tide, xun (Chinese clay flute), pipa, yangqin (plucked Chinese instrument), zheng, gaohu (bowed Chinese instrument), erhu, percussion, 1988; Dian, pipa, 1991; Suite, di zi, pipa, yangqin, sanxian, erhu, 1991; Sparkle, flute (+ piccolo), clarinet (+ E-flat clarinet), violin, cello, double bass, piano, 2 percussion, 1992; Monologue (Impressions on 'The True Story of Ah Q'), clarinet, 1993; Song in Winter, di zi, zheng, harpsichord, 1993 (also version for flute, zheng, piano, percussion, 1993); Duo Ye, pipa, 1995 (version of piano work); Qi, flute, cello, piano, percussion, 1996-97; Fiddle Suite, huqin, string quartet, 1997 (version of orchestral work; also version for huqin, string quartet, double bass, 1997); Romance of Hsiao and Ch'in, erhu, piano, 1997 (version of orchestral work; also versions for cello, piano, 1998; violin, piano, 1999)
CHAMBER MUSIC: Sound of the Five, cello, string quartet, 1998 (also version for marimba, string quartet, 2004); Feng, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1998; Dunhuang Fantasy (concerto), organ, ensemble (flute, oboe, E-flat clarinet, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion), 1999; Romance and Dance, violin, piano, 1999 (version of orchestral work); Song of the Great Wall, 8 French horns, 1999; Ning, pipa, violin, cello, 2001; Joy of Reunion, oboe, viola, cello, double bass, 2001; ...as like a raging fire, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 2001-02; Wu Yu, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, 2001-02; At the Kansas City Chinese New Year Concert, string quartet, 2002; Chinese Fables, pipa, erhu, cello, percussion, 2002; Burning, string quartet, 2002; Chinese Ancient Dance, clarinet, piano, 2004; Night Thoughts, flute, cello, piano, 2004; Happy Rain on a Spring Night, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 2004
CHORAL: Three Poems from the Song Dynasty (texts by Li Qing-zhao, Xin Qi-ji, Su Shi), mixed chorus, 1985; Tang Poems (cantata, texts by Li Po, Li Shang-yin, Bai Ju-yi, Chen Zi-ang), male chorus, 1995 (also version for mixed chorus, small orchestra, 1995); Chinese Myths Cantata (vocalise), 12 male voices, pipa, yangqin, zheng, erhu, 4 pianos, orchestra, 1996; Spring Dreams (text by Meng Hao-ran), mixed chorus, 1997; Chinese Poems (texts by Wang Zhi-huan, Li Po, 2 folk poems), 6 children's voices, 1999; KC Capriccio (vocalise), mixed chorus, symphonic band, 2000 (also version of one section as Capriccio, mixed chorus, organ, percussion, 2001); Xuan (text by Lao-tse), mixed chorus, 2001; Know You How Many Petals Falling (text by Meng Hao-ran [English translation]), mixed chorus, 2001; To the New Millennium (texts by Du Fu, Wang Wei, Cao Cao), soprano, mezzo-soprano, mixed chorus, 2001; Landscape (text by Su Dong-po), mixed chorus, 2003; The West Lake (text by Su Dong-po), mixed chorus, 2003
VOCAL: As in a Dream (text by Li Qing-zhao), soprano, pipa, zheng, 1988 (also version for soprano, violin, cello, 1988); Meditation (texts by Meng Hao-ran, Chen Zi-ang), mezzo-soprano, piano, 1999; Bright Moonlight (text by the composer), mezzo-soprano, piano, 2001
PIANO: Duo Ye, 1984 (also versions for small orchestra; pipa); Yu Diao, 1985; Guessing, 1989; Small Beijing Gong, 1993; Baban, 1999
ARRANGEMENTS: A Set of Chinese Folksongs, male chorus, 1994 (also versions for children's chorus, string orchestra, 1994; children's chorus, string quartet, double bass, 1994; mixed chorus, piano, 1994; mixed chorus, 1994); Sakura, Sakura (Japanese folksong), male chorus, 1994; Arirang (Korean folksong), male chorus, 1994; Singin' in the Dark (Songs of the American Frontier), mixed chorus, orchestra, 1995 (collaboration with Alice Parker); Lament of the Twin Stars (Cantonese folksongs), male chorus, 1996; Chinese Mountain Songs, female chorus, 2001; Shady Grove (American folksong), mixed chorus, 2001; Two Chinese Folk Songs, mixed chorus, 2003
Duo Ye (second version); Xian Shi; Symphony No. 1; Sprout; Two Sets of Wind and Percussion Instruments. Liu Li-zhou, viola; Shao En, Shui Lan/Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China (China Record Corporation: AL-57, 1986)
The Palm Tree from Three Poems from the Song Dynasty. Yan Liang-kun/Central Philharmonic Society Chorale (Pacific Audio-Video Corporation: P-2318, 1989)
Duo Ye (original version). Shi Shu-cheng, piano (China Record Corporation: CCD90 088, 1990)
Dian. Wu Man, pipa (Nimbus: NI 5368, 1993)
As in a Dream (second version). Chen Hongyu, soprano; Vera Hsu, violin; Ted Mook, cello (China Record Corporation: CCD-94/388, 1994)
Dian. Min Xiao-fen, pipa (Cala: CACD 0504, 1995)
Qin Tomb of the Middle Kingdom (music for computer game). (Warner Brothers, 1996) (CD-ROM)
A Set of Chinese Folksongs (original version); Arirang; Sakura, Sakura. Chanticleer (Teldec: 16676, 1997)
Chinese Myths Cantata; Duo Ye No. 2; Ge Xu; Symphony No. 2. Chanticleer; Music from China; JoAnn Falletta/Women's Philharmonic (New Albion: NA 090, 1997)
A Set of Chinese Folksongs (version for mixed chorus; excerpts). Lim Yau/Shanghai Philharmonic Choir (International Music Management, 1997)
Duo Ye (third version). Min Xiao-fen, pipa (Avant: AVAN 021, 1998)
Sparkle; As in a Dream (original version); Qi; Duo Ye (third version); Shuo; Song in Winter; Near Distance. Music from China; New Music Consort (CRI: CD804, 1999)
Tang Poems (original version; excerpts). Chanticleer (Teldec: 24570, 1999)
Ge Xu. David Snell/Foundation Philharmonic (Atma: ACD 22199, 1999)
Dian. Wu Man, pipa (Nimbus: NI 7043/44, 2000)
Baban. Ursula Oppens, piano (Boosey & Hawkes: ISMN M-051-246174-5, 2000)
Duo Ye No. 2. Tsung Yeh/Hong Kong Sinfonietta (Hugo: 7204, 2000)
Momentum. David Chen/Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Recordings, 2000)
A Set of Chinese Folksongs (version for mixed chorus; excerpts); The Palm Tree from Three Poems from the Song Dynasty. Jennifer Tham/Singapore Youth Choir (Singapore Youth Choir, 2000)
A Set of Chinese Folksongs (version for mixed chorus; excerpts). Johor Bahru Chamber Choir (Johor Bahru Chamber Choir Recordings, 2000)
Spring Festival. (Bandquest, 2000) (CD-ROM)
Romance of Hsiao and Ch'in (original version). Nachum Erlich, Ulf Hoelscher, violins; Andreas Weiss/Karlsruhe Ensemble (Angel: 7243 5 57179 24, 2001)
Concerto. Evelyn Glennie, percussion; Shui Lan/Singapore Symphony Orchestra (BIS: 1222, 2002)
As in a Dream (second version). Continuum (Ilkhom-XX/Open Society Institute Uzbekistan/British Council, 2003)
Wild Grass from Tang Poems. Chanticleer (Elektra: 0927-49702, 2003)
Dian. Jiang Ting, pipa (M.A. Recordings: B0009IB29, 2003)
Momentum; Chinese Folk Dance Suite; Dunhuang Fantasy; Romance and Dance (original version); Tu (original version). Cho-Liang Lin, violin; Kim Marshall, organ; Shui Lan/Singapore Symphony Orchestra (BIS: 1352, 2003)
Romance and Dance (second version). Ho Dong, violin; Brenda Tom, piano (ISRC: CN A65-02-562-00/A-J6, 2003)
(Last updated on June 28, 2004)