CHEN, Shih-Hui

CHEN, Shih-Hui

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A citation accompanying Shih-Hui Chen's Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters states:“Among the composers of Asian descent living in the U.S.A., Shih-Hui Chen is most successful in balancing the very refined spectral traditions of the East with the polyphonic practice of Western art-music. In a seamless narrative, her beautiful music, always highly inventive and expressive, is immediately as appealing as it is demanding and memorable.”According to the New Music Box review of 66 Times (Albany Records), Chen“…completely blurs the line between traditional Chinese music and contemporary American composition.” Her most recent CD, Returning Souls (New World), was hailed by Wire Magazine for its“deep musical intelligence.”

Born in Taiwan, Shih-Hui Chen has lived in the United States since 1982 and received her doctorate from Boston University. In addition to garnering a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Harvard/Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Scholar, a Fulbright Senior Scholar and an American Academy in Rome Prize, her compositions have been performed widely throughout the U.S. and abroad, including China, Japan, England, Germany, and Italy. Chen's compositions have brought her into contact with many orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and Utah Symphony. Her chamber music has been presented by the Arditti Quartet, Network for New Music, Voices of Change, and the Freon Ensemble in Rome, Italy. Chen’s work has also been the subject of analysis by scholars such as German ethnomusicologist Barbara Mittler, who wrote Chen’s biographical entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Chen currently serves on Asia Society Texas Center's Performing Arts & Culture Committee. She is the director of 21C: Contemporary Cross-Culture Asian Music Festival and a Professor of Composition and Theory at The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University. Recent projects include Echoes from Within: a 50 minute site-specific work for the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil Collection; Withholding the Umbrella for the Chinese Orchestra; Ten Thousand Blooms, Falling Petals for the Pacific Rim Music Festival; and Messages From a Paiwan Village, a 75-minute storytelling musical drama. Her music can be heard on Albany Records, New World Records, and Bridge.

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Selected works
Silvergrass
2016
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A Plea to Lady Chang’e
2014
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Fantasia on the Theme of Guanglingsan
2014
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Returning Souls: Four Short Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends
2011
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Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossoms
2007
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Selected works
link

Silvergrass

2016
link

A Plea to Lady Chang’e

2014
link

Fantasia on the Theme of Guanglingsan

2014
link

Returning Souls: Four Short Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends

2011
link

Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossoms

2007
Orchestral/Concerto Works
Title Instrumentation Year Duration NCAF-funded
Silvergrass for Cello and Chamber Orchestra 2016 12'21"
A Plea to Lady Chang’e for Chamber Orchestra and Nanguan Pipa 2014 9'18"
Fantasia on the Theme of Guanglingsan for Zheng and Chinese Orchestra 2014 11'38"
Vocal Works/Choral
Title Instrumentation Year Duration NCAF-funded
na ya i ya i 排灣古謠 for acapella chorus 2017 5'36"
Chamber Music Works
Title Instrumentation Year Duration NCAF-funded
Perpetual Movable Games for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord 2020 9'40"
Messages  for narrator and chamber ensemble 2019 17'34"
Echoes from Within, a Musical Response to Cy Twombly for sheng, bass and electronic 2018 23'08"
Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossoms for String Quartet 2007 16'32"
Solo Instrumental Works
Title Instrumentation Year Duration NCAF-funded
Returning Souls: Four Short Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends for Solo Violin 2011 9'18"

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

Title Instrumentation Year Duration
Perpetual Movable Games for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord 2020 9'40"
na ya i ya i 排灣古謠 for acapella chorus 2017 5'36"