Chen Yi, composer

Chen Yi headshot

As a prolific composer who blends East and West traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries, Chinese-American composer Dr. Chen Yi is the Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the recipient of Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has been commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin, Yo-Yo Ma, Evelyn Glennie, Chanticleer, Shanghai and Ying quartets, Rascher and Prism sax quartets, the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Seattle, Pacific, BBC, Singapore symphonies and the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, and recorded on Bis, New Albion, New World, Teldec, Albany, Bridge, Naxos. Major fellowships and commissioning awards were from Guggenheim, Fromm, Roche, and Koussevitzky Music Foundations, AAAL, Meet The Composer, Barlow Endowment for New Music, Chamber Music America, ACDA, NYSCA and NEA. Honors include the first prizes from the Chinese National Composition Competition, CalArts/Alpert Award, UT Eddie Medora King Composition Prize, ASCAP Concert Music Award, Elise Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

She holds B.A. and M.A. from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and DMA from Columbia University in New York. Major composition teachers were Profs. Wu Zu-qiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She has taught at Peabody Conservatory (96-98), and served as Residence Composer of The Women’s Philharmonic, Chanticleer and Aptos Middle School supported by Meet The Composer’s New Residences (93-96). A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is a Distinguished Visiting Professor in China since 2006. 

Chen Yi's piece Fire was premiered on March 15, 2019

Performance notes: 

Fire was commissioned by the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition directed by Prof. Augusta Read Thomas at the University of Chicago for the Grossman Ensemble. Fire is written for flute, oboe, clarinet in B flat, French horn in F, 2 percussion (I. snare drum and suspended cymbal; II. bass drum), harp, piano, 2 violins, viola and cello. The music reflects the fire in nature, as well as in tension and emotion.

Grossman Ensemble premieres Chen Yi's "Fire"