LIN, Chin-Yow

LIN, Chin-Yow

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Lin Chin-Yow was born in Pitou, Changhwa in 1948 to a family with its own southern Hokkien 8-tone band and nanguan band. The favorable environment kindled a love of traditional Chinese music in Lin since he was a little boy, and when he grew older, he began to study the piano with his mother, who was herself a music teacher. In 1964, Lin was enrolled in the Taichung Teachers College (a junior college then; currently the National Taichung University of Education), where he studied as a music major with concentrations in piano and violin. He also studied harmony with Chen Ru-Yun and Chao Yung-Nan. It was during the years in the college that he developed an interest in composition and achieved great performance in related subjects. In recognition of Lin's outstanding talents, Professor Lin Chao-Yang encouraged him to pursue a career in music composition. At that time, Lin got the information that the composer Hsu Tsang-Houei, who had returned from France to Taiwan after completing his study, was giving lessons in Taichung and Changhua. Hsu granted Lin permission to audit his courses doing music demonstration from then on for many years.

In 1969, Lin Chin-Yow was graduated from the junior college and began a 10-year teaching career first at Ho-Sin Elementary School and later at Beidou Elementary School in Changhua. Afterwards, he was admitted to the Department of Music at the Taiwan Normal University by recommendation, where he studied with a concentration in composition under the tutelage of Chen Mao-Shuen, Tzeng Shing-Kwei and Ma Shui-Long. After graduating from the university in 1982, Lin was offered a position teaching composition to the music-talented students at Stella Matutina Girl’s High School in Taichung. In 1986, Lin entered the National Taiwan Normal University and obtained an MA degree in music education in 1988. Afterwards, he traveled to Japan for further studies in music theories and composition. From 1990 on, Lin taught music theory and composition in the Department of Music Education at Taichung Normal College and served as dean of the department between 2005 and 2009. Lin has been the director and executive supervisor of Taiwan main branch of Asian Composers League (ACL), director general of Society of Beautiful Music founded by ACL and director of International Society for Contemporary Music. In 1999, Lin traveled to Russia for study and research with a grant received by winning the first Taiwan Provincial Music Art Awards in the category of composition.

During teaching piano, harmony, sight singing and dictation at the Stella Matutina Girl's High School, Lin Chin-Yow began to work on designing music theory materials for students in Taiwan. In 1983, he cofounded the Society of Beautiful Music with Chen Mao-Shuen and they co-edited a series of lesson manuals for training sensations of tone and rhythm. Lin also developed several fundamental books himself for training music sensations of tone, in addition to other teaching materials on sight-reading, dictation, accompaniment arrangement, improvisation and musical theories; all of them have become popular materials for music talented classes in Taiwan.

Lin Chin-Yow also wrote a number of piano pieces for children, including A Hiking Trip Suite, Twelve Piano Pieces, Piano Sonata No. 1, Beautiful Childhood Memories, Petite Suite of the Countryside, Three Piano Etudes, Sonatina No. 7, Music to Tachihara Michizou's A Short Ballad, Droplets on the Lotus Leaves and Fairies by the Stream, all of them with artistry and playability. Several of them have been included in the assigned repertoire for the Kawai International Piano Competition.

Many of Lin Chin-Yow's works celebrate the village life in Taiwan; among them are the piano suites Simple Life of Farmers and A Bountiful Autumn Harvest (for bassoon and piano). He also wrote music for Chinese poems, producing works including The Deep Sorrowful Courtyard (for harp, flute and percussion trio) and Who Will Drink with Me in Moonlight (for cello). Painting is a source of inspiration for Lin, too. Chinese Landscape Painting I—Mountains and Forests in Mist and Rain and Chinese Landscape Painting II—A Secluded Hermit are two examples of how the composer translates into music his touched feelings when looking upon a painting. The other title-bearing programmatic compositions are also very picturesque; among them are the piano pieces of Ox Cart, Waterwheel and A Beautiful Girl under the Willows.

Lin's early repertoire consists mainly of vocal and piano compositions featuring relatively conventional techniques and a search for China’s own national music. Twelve Piano Pieces and Lake and Mountain in the Autumn Sun (for solo voice) are among the representative works of his early period. From the 1980s onward, Lin began to devote to orchestral and chamber music, producing works including Prelude to the Autumn Wind (symphonic poem), piano concertos and works for string quartets. Atonal techniques, serialism and prepared piano were used more frequently, along with an emphasis on the variation of timber and tone color. The representative works of the period include Prelude to the Autumn Wind (symphonic poem), Remembering My Hometown (symphonic poem) and Yearning (orchestral solo). In recent years, to explore more possibilities in composition, Lin has been devoted to the integration of conventional and modern composing techniques with occasional use of computer music and theatrical effects. Examples include Who Will Drink with Me in Moonlight (for cello), Elves in the Bamboo Forest (for clarinet and piano), and Fantasia (for clarinet and electronic music), etc.

Lin Chin-Yow's works have been frequently staged at home and abroad and have been awarded several times. The Bodhisattva Melody and A Hiking Trip (piano suite) were awarded the Best Composition for Solo Voice (Instrument) Award (1984, 1985); The End of the World, for which he wrote the film score, were awarded the Best Animation Award at Taipei Film Festival (1998); Returning Home (for quintet) was shortlisted for the project of "Hear the Sound of Taiwan" (2002); A Bountiful Autumn Harvest (for cello and piano) was staged in France and South Korea; and Fantasia of Taiwan (for violin) was staged in Boston and Maryland, USA. His solo cello piece Who Will Drink with Me in Moonlight was premiered in Paris by the French cellist Barbara Marcinkowska.


* link to " NCAF online Archive of Grant Fruitages "website (in Chinese)

Title Instrumentation Year Duration