Famous Chinese composer shares thoughts on the creation of music
Chris Edwards | 07/11/2019

Earlier this week, Distinguished Visiting Professor Chen Yi gave the 230th lecture in the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) Lecture Series. She gave an intriguing lecture called “Spreading Chinese Culture through music – Chen Yi’s musical creation.” Visiting Professor Sun Guangjun from the Arts Center presided over the lecture.

Chen Yi is a world famous composer and the first Chinese-American composer to hold a concert of multimedia symphonies in the United States. She graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1983, receiving a master’s degree in 1986. She also received a scholarship to study at Columbia University on completion of her master’s degree, and became a tenured professor at the Conservatory of Music at Missouri State University. In 2001, she won the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award. In 2005, she was selected as a tenured fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Literature and became the only Chinese-American composer currently selected.

Chen Yi combined her works to talk about her bold experience in integrating tradition and innovation. She said that the creation of her orchestral piece, Momentum, was inspired by ancient totems, volcanoes and lines of Chinese calligraphy, to create music that spoke of social prospects.

She then introduced her new work that incorporates a children’s choir into traditional Chinese instruments. Using individual pieces within her orchestral symphony, Chen Yi explained the meaning behind each of the five pieces. The final piece of music was an unaccompanied chorus, which was composed by her English translation of poems and features a strong Chinese flavor.

Closing her lecture, Chen Yi said that composers communicate with music. China needs more thoughtful composers to explore, reflect and accumulate knowledge in traditional culture and find the voice belonging to Chinese culture. This is the only way Chinese traditional culture can be widely shared on the world stage.

Chen Yi answered many questions from the faculty members and teachers in attendance, with patience and kindness.

2019, 07-11
By Chris Edwards

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Translated and Adapted By SUSTech Newshub

Proofread ByXia Yingying

Photo ByArts Center

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