Chen Yi

Originally commissioned and dedicated to the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Germany (Director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg) for Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa to premiere on June 4, 2007, my work China West Suite was originally written in four movements for two pianos. The authentic folk music from China West has amazed and inspired me to write this piece, which has the folk music elements drawn from the folk songs Gadameilin and Pastoral of the Meng People (Mongolian); Ashima (of the Yi People); Du Mu and Amaliehuo (of the Dou Duo and Jusheng ensemble music of the Miao People). I adapted the piece for marimba and piano after the premiere for this recording project and the group’s performances in 2009 and 2010. [C.Y.]

As a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries, Dr. Chen Yi was born in 1953 in Guangzhou, China. She is the Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company, commissioned and performed world wide by such ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony and the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, recorded on Bis, New Albion, New World, Teldec (with a Grammy Award sung by Chanticleer), Telarc, Angle, Nimbus, Albany, Quartz, Naxos, Koch International and China Record Co. among others. Chen Yi has received bachelor and master degrees in music composition (1983 and 1986) from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree (1993) from Columbia University. Major composition teachers have been Profs. Wu Zu-qiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and appointed to the 3-year Changjiang Scholar Visiting Professor at the CCOM by the China Ministry of Education in 2006.

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