Posts Tagged ‘ Zhou Long

University Singers to premiere new work by Chen Yi

This weekend, the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music will have the honor of welcoming Chen Yi for a brief residency on the MU campus and a world premiere.

Chen (pictured) currently is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Along with many orchestral works, Chen has written numerous choral works and pieces of chamber music, including works written for traditional Chinese instruments.

While she’s at Mizzou, Chen will give a presentation her works at 3:00 p.m. Saturday in room 146 of the Fine Arts Building, and take in the world premiere of her new composition “The Beautiful West Lake” during a concert by the University Singers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at First Baptist Church.

The work was commissioned by the University of Missouri School of Music specifically for R. Paul Crabb and the University Singers with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. The lyric is taken from the poem “The West Lake,” written during the Song Dynasty in 1073 by the Chinese poet Su Dong-po (1037-1101).

Chen’s program notes describe “The Beautiful West Lake” like this:

“The shining waves in the lake, and the drizzling rains on the hills from a colorful landscape of the West Lake. It is presented by simple pentatonic melodies, with cluster harmonies and a pattern of reciting nonsense syllables in the background in my choral piece. The sound and voices in the music convey the feeling of enjoying the nature, which symbolizes the beauty in Southeast China, whose presence is just so natural and perfect.”

Following the concert, Chen will wrap up her visit on Monday by leading a morning coaching session at Loeb Hall with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

A violinist as well as a composer, she received bachelor and masters degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University.

Chen is the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005. She has received
fellowships and commissions from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Ford, Roche, and Rockefeller foundations; Meet The Composer, Chamber Music America;, the BBC Proms; the China National Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center Festival, and Carnegie Hall.

Ensembles and soloists commissioning her work have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Mira Wang and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Seattle Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma and the Pacific Symphony, Evelyn Glennie and the Singapore Symphony, the Women’s Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Chen’s music is published by Theodore Presser Company, and has been recorded and released on more than 20 different labels, including New Albion, CRI, Angel, Koch International Classics, Delos, New World and Naxos.

Also of note is that her husband is Zhou Long, also a professor of composition at UMKC’s conservatory, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for music, and one of two distinguished guest composers at the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

For more about Chen Yi, you can read this 2001 interview with Minnesota Public Radio and this interview conducted at the 2005 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and listen to this interview she did in 2012 with NYC radio station WQXR.

You can see and hear some samples of her works in the embedded videos below.

“Prospect Overture” for orchestra, commissioned by the China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and premiered by the China National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding, on December 31, 2008 at the CNCPA.

“Chinese Ancient Dances” for clarinet and piano, performed by Divan Consort on September 27, 2012 at CSU Fullerton’s Meng Hall.

“Distance can’t keep us two apart,” a 2012 work commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association Endowment and performed here by Montclair State University Singers, conducted by Dr. Heather Buchanan, on February 17, 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, in Providence, RI.

A look back at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival

Here’s a comprehensive look back at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival via news coverage and social media:

Composers Festival Spotlight: Zhou Long

Zhou Long

It’s an honor to have Zhou Long as one of the two guest composers at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Currently the Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, Zhou won the Pulitzer Prize in music in 2011 for his opera “Madame White Snake.” He graciously agreed to serve as one of this year’s guest composers on short notice after Beat Furrer, who originally had been scheduled to appear, was unable to attend for medical reasons.

During the MICF, he will give a public presentation about his music; instruct and interact with the eight resident composers in individual and group sessions; and work with Alarm Will Sound on the performance of his composition “Bell Drum Towers,” which they’ll play as part of their concert on Thursday, July 24 at the Missouri Theatre.

Zhou is recognized internationally for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. Drawing deeply on his Chinese heritage, he is a pioneer in combining the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions with contemporary Western ensembles and compositional forms.

Born in 1953 in China, he began piano lessons as a young child, but his musical studies were interrupted by the Cultural Revolution, the movement started in 1966 by Mao Zedong that attempted to enforce communism in the country by suppressing capitalist, traditional, cultural and intellectual influences.

Zhou was sent to drive a tractor on a rural state farm, where the bleak landscape, roaring winds and ferocious wild fires made what he describes as “a profound and lasting impression” on him. He was able to resume his musical training in 1973, eventually enrolling in the first composition class at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing when it reopened in 1977. After graduating in 1983, he was appointed composer-in-residence with the National Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra of China.

Zhou first came to the United States in 1985 to study music at Columbia University, where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1993. After more than a decade as music director of Music From China in New York City, he received ASCAP’s Adventurous Programming Award in 1999, and its prestigious Concert Music Award in 2011.

He has taught at UMKC since 2001, and has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including the 2012-2013 Elise Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; the 2003 Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the CalArts/Alpert Award; and first place in the Barlow International Competition, with a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Zhou has received fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, and numerous others, and has been commissioned to compose new music by major presenting organizations, ensembles and orchestras all around the world.

Recent works include 2012’s “University Festival Overture” and “Beijing Rhyme – A Symphonic Suite,” commissioned by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra and recorded on EMI in 2013; the solo piano work “Pianobells,” premiered at the Musica Nova concert in the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance; and a chamber work, “Cloud Earth,” which was commissioned and premiered by the New York New Music Ensemble.

In 2013, Zhou composed an evening-long symphonic epic “Nine Odes,” based on poems by Qu Yaun (ca. 340 BCE – 278 BCE), for the Beijing Music Festival Arts Foundation. He also recently completed a new work for the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, and his piano concerto “Postures,” was premiered on July 4 by the Singapore Symphony and will be performed in September at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Zhou Long’s music has been recorded on Warner, Naxos, BIS, EMI, CRI, Teldec (1999 Grammy Award), Cala, Delos, Sony, Avant, Telarc and China Record. He is published exclusively by Oxford University Press.
You can hear some samples of his music and see a brief feature about the Pulitzer-winning “Madame White Snake” in the embedded videos below.

“The Rhyme of Taigu” performed by Singapore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lan Shui and recorded in October 2010 at the Philharmonie in Berlin.

“Pianogongs,” performed by pianist Chi-Ling Lok

“Five Elements,” recorded by the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jeffery Meyer with Luisa Sello (flute), in July 2012 during the Thailand International Composition Festival at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Dhyana,” performed by Contemporary Enclave with James Ogburn, conductor, on July 10, 2012 at the Thailand International Composition Festival.

The Birth of “Madame White Snake”

2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival to include free events

In addition to the ticketed concerts at the Missouri Theatre, the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival once again will include a number of events that are free of charge.

All the presentations by the Festival’s guest, resident and faculty composers are free and open to the public, and will take place in Room 145 of the Fine Arts Building on the MU campus.

The resident composers will give presentations on their work from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 21; and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22.

Guest composer Nico Muhly will discuss his work at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, followed at 8:15 p.m. by MU faculty composer Stefan Freund.

Then on Wednesday, July 23, guest composer Zhou Long will give his presentation at 7:00 p.m., with MU faculty composer W. Thomas McKenney to follow at 8:30 p.m.

To get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Festival’s eight world premieres and other new works are being prepared for performance, you can see the Festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound in several rehearsals during the week that will be open to the public at no charge.

Open rehearsals will take place from 9:00 a.m to noon on Tuesday and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Missouri Theatre; and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 25 in Room 201 of Loeb Hall on the MU campus.

For a complete schedule of events, please see the Mizzou International Composers Festival website.

Zhou Long to serve as guest composer
for 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival;
Beat Furrer unable to attend for medical reasons

The Mizzou New Music Initiative announced today that Swiss composer Beat Furrer, who had been scheduled to be one of the guest composers later this month at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival, will be unable to attend the festival due to medical reasons.

In place of Furrer, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long, Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, has agreed to serve as a guest composer for the 2014 MICF.

“We regret that Beat Furrer won’t be able to participate in this year’s festival, as his doctor has advised him not to travel, and we hope he’s feeling better soon,” said William J. Lackey, managing director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “However, we feel extraordinarily fortunate that a composer of Zhou Long’s stature happened to have space in his schedule at this time, and we are most grateful that he has agreed to join us in Columbia on such short notice.”

Zhou (pictured) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2011 for his first opera, Madame White Snake. Born in 1953 in China, he first came to the United States in 1985 to study music at Columbia University, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1993.

He has taught at UMKC since 2001, and has received awards, fellowships and commissions from major organizations and musical ensembles all around the world, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the Cary Trust, and the Copland Fund for Music.

For MICF ticket buyers, the change in guest composers means that they’ll hear a different program during the concert by Alarm Will Sound on Thursday, July 24 at the Missouri Theatre, as the festival’s resident ensemble will perform Zhou’s Bell Drum Towers in place of one of the Furrer compositions previously scheduled. That concert also will include music by Nico Muhly, the MICF’s other guest composer this year.

For the festival’s eight resident composers, Zhou’s participation in the festival will give them a chance to study and interact with a composer and teacher who has been recognized internationally for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West.

A pioneer in combining the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions with contemporary Western ensembles and compositional forms, Zhou served as music director for the presenting organization Music From China for more than a decade while living in New York. During the MICF, he will give a public presentation about his music; instruct and interact with the eight resident composers in individual and group sessions; and work with Alarm Will Sound on the performance of Bell Drum Towers.

To buy tickets for the Mizzou International Composers Festival online, or to see a complete listing of events, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.