Chen Yi: "Dragon Rhyme"
Born: April 4, 1953, Guangzhou, China
Instrumentation: Symphonic Band
Duration: 20 minutes
Premiere: May 30, 2010, Hartt Wind Ensemble at Carnagie Hall; Glen Adsit, Conductor.
As a Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, a prolific composer and recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2001-04), Chen Yi* blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Through doing so, she serves as an ambassador to the arts, creating music that reaches a wide range of audiences, inspiring people with different cultural backgrounds throughout the world. She holds both a BA and MA in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and received her DMA from Columbia University in the City of New York, studying composition with Wu Zuqiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005.
Dr. Chen has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (1996) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1994), as well as the Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996). Other honors include first prize in the Chinese National Composition Competition (1985), the Lili Boulanger Award from the National Women Composers Resource Center (1993), New York University’s Sorel Medal (1996), the CalArts/Alpert Award (1997), a Grammy Award (1999), the University of Texas Eddie Medora King Composition Prize (1999), the Adventurous Programming and Concert Music awards from ASCAP (1999 and 2001, respectively), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Elise Stoeger Award (2002), the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund’s Friendship Ambassador Award (2002), the Kauffman Award in Artistry/Scholarship from the UMKC Conservatory (2006), and honorary doctorates from Lawrence University in WI (2002), Baldwin-Wallace College in OH (2008), the University of Portland in OR (2009), and The New School University in NYC (2010).
*CHEN is her family name, Yi is her personal name.
Commissioned by the National Wind Ensemble Consortium Group, Dragon Rhyme for Symphonic Band is in two movements: I. Mysteriously-Harmoniously and II. Energetically. The first movement is lyrical, and the second powerful. Featuring the basic intervals found in Beijing Opera music, the thematic material in both movements is matched, and used economically for development throughout the work. The instrumental texture is rich in colors, from transparent and delicate to angular and strong. Taking the image of the dragon, which is auspicious, fresh, and vivid, the music is layered and multidimensional. It symbolizes Eastern culture. When it meets the world, it becomes a part of the global family.