Chen Yi: Sound of the Five

Composer(s): Chen Yi
Album Title: Chen Yi: Sound of the Five 
Cat. No.: 80691
Genre: Classical / Contemporary
Release Date: 03/2009
Description: Third Angle New Music Ensemble
Ron Blessinger, Artistic Director

Chen Yi (b. 1953) is part of a distinguished cohort of Chinese composers who have immigrated to the United States over the past several decades. A common element in their biographies is study with the Columbia University professor Chou Wen-chung. A native of China himself, Chou was a pupil and a close associate of Edgard Varèse. Varèse, who defined music as "organized sound," did not himself study Asian music, but his approach to timbre and texture is very close to Chinese aesthetic values. Chou Wen-chung and his student-colleagues all share an aesthetic which treats timbre as a musical element equal to melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. One is struck in Chen Yi's music by the vibrancy and importance of tremolos, pitch inflections, and articulations, while concurrently realizing that they are always in the service of the music, not there merely as "effects." Her music stands at the intersection of Eastern and Western musical culture, drawing on the history and music of her native China to create new works that are beautiful, evocative, and highly crafted. The theme of cultural integration informs all her work and expands the definition of what we call "American" music. 
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