Kai-Young CHAN: “Echoes of the Autumn Night”《秋夕迴聲》for two violins (2018)

(Commissioned by violinist Patrick T.S. Yim and premiered by violinists Patrick T.S. Yim and Joel Smirnoff)



November 1, 2018 performed by violinists Patrick Yim and Joel Smirnoff at “Concert with Juilliard Violin Faculty Joel Smirnoff, Samuel Ericsson (cello), Felix Ungar (viola), and Rachel Cheung (piano)” (Sponsored by the Institute of Creativity and the Hung Hin Shiu Charitable Foundation.), Academic Community Hall at Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong. (World Premiere Performance)

June 26, 2019: Performance with violinist Morten Lyngs at the Flatirons Chamber Music Festival, eTown Hall, Boulder, CO

Press Mention

International Association of Theatre Critics (Hong Kong), May 16, 2019

Programme Notes

Echoes of the Autumn Night draws its pitch materials and structure from the poem Autumn Night by Tang Dynasty poet Du Mu, who expressed with his poem the loneliness of a palace servant whose fan has lost its purpose as autumn arrived – an allusion to the waning influence of the poet’s family in the imperial court. Also featured in the poem were the stars of the Cowherd and the Weaving Lady, a legend about two separated lovers who can only meet once a year.

The poetic imageries of starlight and glimmering fireflies tracks inspired the shimmery timbre of the harmonic trills featured throughout the piece, which at times hint at the theme pointillisntically, and at other times recede to the background as accompaniment to the lyrical and expressive lines drawn from the tonal contour of the poem. The two violins often exchange in roles and echo each other’s materials, but there are also climactic moments where the two work together as a single entity.

This work is commissioned by violinist Patrick Yim.

Autumn Night by Du Mu (translation by the composer)

Silver candle, autumnal glow, a chilling painted screen.
With a small round fan of light silk gauze, she fans the flitting fireflies
On the palace steps descends the night cool as water.
Laying down, she gazes at the Cowherd and the Weaving Lady stars.

《秋夕》 杜牧


About Kai-Young CHAN

Kai-Young Chan is often inspired by ancient and contemporary Asian cultural traditions, and he is particularly drawn to the musicality of Chinese literature expressed through the tonal properties of the Cantonese language. His music is performed across the continents by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, PRISM Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Daedalus Quartet, Dolce Suono Ensemble, and International Ensemble Modern Academy, and Hong Kong New Ensemble, among other prominent performers. His selected works are released on Ablaze, innova, and PARMA records, with scores published by Editions Peters (London) and Central Conservatory of Music Press(Beijing).

Chan is part of the first artist delegation of American Composers Forum to the Havana Festival for Contemporary Music in Cuba, a historic tour documented by the National Public Radio. His music is featured in two editions of ISCM World Music Days (2015 in Slovenia, 2012 in Belgium), International Rostrum of Composers (2014 in Finland), International Forum of New Music Manuel Enriquez (Mexico), Risuonanze Festival (Italy), Internationalen Ferienkurse Darmstadt (Germany), and Musicarama(Hong Kong).

Chan is a winner of the Keuris Composition Prize, the Emissary Quartet Composition Competition, Dolce Suono Ensemble Composition Competition, the Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers Competition, the Vocal Espoo Choral Composition Competition, Association for the Promotion of New Music Composition Competition, the Audience Prize of the Hong Kong Composer’s Showcase organized by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra,  Speech Choir Young Composer Award, CASH Music Scholarships, among other honors.

A Benjamin Franklin Fellow, Chan earned his PhD in Music Composition from the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with Jay Reise, James Primosch, and Anna Weesner. He currently serves on the faculty of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he earned his Master of Music under the supervision of Victor Chan, and Bachelor of Arts in Translation with first class honours.


​陳啟揚的作品曾獲美國匹茲堡交響樂團、奧爾巴尼交響樂團、西雅圖樂團、寇蒂斯音樂學院樂團、坦帕灣交響樂團、Daedalus弦樂四重奏、Mivos弦樂四重奏、Mise-en樂團、俄羅斯Cantando四重奏、德國國際現代合奏音樂學院、香港管弦樂團、香港小交響樂團等樂團演奏,並先後入選國際現代音樂節2012 (比利時)、華人作曲家音樂節2013(香港)、Risuonanze 音樂節 (意大利)、國際作曲家交流會議2014(芬蘭)、2015國際新音樂論壇(墨西哥)、國際現代音樂節2015 (斯洛文尼亞)、2015夏灣拿現代音樂節(古巴)、2016埃斯波聲樂節(芬蘭)、2016 soundSCAPE(意大利)、2017中國東盟音樂節(中國)、2017 華倫西亞音樂節(西班牙)、2018水牛城六月音樂節(美國)、2018西北室內音樂節(美國)等國際音樂節。其樂譜出版商包括Edition Peters、香港兒童合唱團等,而唱片則由PARMA、Innova、Ablaze等唱片公司全球發行。