Binyang Li: Breath V – Entanglement for erhu and violin (2023)

Program Notes by the composer

“Breath” is an ongoing series of chamber music works that I began years ago. In Breath V, the
subtitle, entanglement, pertains less to the quantum theory than it does to the relationship
between two broad cultures: Western and Eastern. Both cultures have their own unique features,
and although superficially it seems that they are worlds apart, they do in fact share many
essential features in common when viewed from a different angle; from the viewpoint of
humankind itself, as a lonely sentient species in the vast expanse of the universe. Through these
cosmic lenses, the borders between the worlds of East and West become nebulous. They may
seem sharply divided at times, too different for any reconciliation; and at other moments, their
margins blur: they are entangled.

The tonality material of the Chinese instrument Erhu is derived from a Chinese folk song
called “Xiao Bai Cai“(Little Cabbage), and for the violin, the tonality is based on the scale of
Messiaen’s “second mode.”


Weaving a variety of musical influences together into a unique signature — from
traditional Chinese instruments to classical Western orchestras — composer and professor
Binyang Li is one of the most renowned composers of his time.

While earning his degree in the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China;
Binyang Li studied under the tutelage of professor Du Mingxin. In 1985, Li graduated with a
bachelor’s degree in Music Composition and taught composition for years at that same
conservatory. In 1992, Li received his master’s degree in composition in Louisiana State
University under the mentorship of professor Dinos Constantinides.

Binyang Li then returned once more to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing,
this time as a professor of the Composition Department, teaching there for over 15 years.
Li has won numerous prestigious competitions in many different countries. Award-
winning works and other main works of Binyang Li include: “First Symphony; “God of
Mountains” (Concerto for Guanzi); “Snow. Yellow”(Symphony); “Totem” (Erhu Concerto);
“Yellow River From Heaven (Chinese Orchestra, Voice, Chorus); “Qing Shang” (opera);
“Patching the Heaven”(Chinese Orchestra); “Nine Spaces” (Symphony); “Passions of
Moving Colors” (Symphony); “Danqing” (Pipa Concerto); “String Concerto” (Symphony),
“The Hanging Gardens” (For dizi and orchestra); “The Sunset Lake; “Breathe II”; “Breathe
IV”; and many other works — including chamber music pieces as well as music for
numerous television series and movies.

Li has frequently been sought out and commissioned for his compositions — which
have been performed in many different countries and concert halls including Carnegie Hall,
Lincoln Center, and Beijing Concert Hall — and he was also one of the composers selected
to compose for the 29 th Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2008. Binyang Li is currently
a member of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and a
member of American Composers Forum (ACF).

李滨扬, 当代著名作曲家,博士生导师,中央音乐学院作曲系教授。
金赴美留学师从 Dinos Constandinides 教授。1992年获路易斯安娜州立大学音乐学院硕士学位。其
作品在国內外多次获奖包括中央音乐学院作曲比赛第一名,Yavanavich Society Contest比赛第一名,
Omni Intermedia Award 金奖以及第十二届中国全国民乐大型作品创作比赛第二名,第六届“金钟奖”
民族室内乐创作比赛总评分第一名,2008TMSK比赛总评分第一名, 交响乐《九天》入选交响乐精