Kai-Young CHAN: Stanley Susurrus for violin and electronics (2020)

(Commissioned by violinist Patrick T.S. Yim)



(Written by the composer)

Stanley Susurrus is a collection of two pieces inspired by the surroundings of Stanley and they can be performed as a set or separately. The first piece, “Murray Murmurings”, captures the variations in light, shadows, and sound around the historic Murray House, a Victorian-era building in Hong Kong. The stone columns, the turning antique fans, the shimmering sea, the splashing waves, and the slowly-morphing colours of the dusking sky were all part of the transforming gestures of the violin.

The second piece, “a boat going nowhere”, is scored for violin and fixed media. The fixed media mainly consists of pre-recorded violin fragments; the violin plays a soloistic line that is designed to sound like it triggered a wave of reactions in the fixed media as if poly-temporal canons are unfolding in various scopes and timelines. The piece was inspired by the many boats that are harboured around the shore close to the Murray House in the Stanley Bay. These boats are always floating around the same spot, and despite their seemingly free movement along with the tides, they never go anywhere. They almost portrait a kind of yearning to go somewhere, dreaming of reaching a faraway shore, and yet they are stuck here and tied to the rocks, watching the larger ships sailing away – which is not unlike what most of us are going through right now. What tied us to the rocks?

This work was commissioned and premiered by Patrick Yim.


A Hong Kong-based composer, Kai-Young Chan focuses on the integration of nuance, relevance, and resonance in music that converses with societies and cultures, and he is particularly drawn to the musicality of Chinese literature expressed through the tonal 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, 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), June in Buffalo (USA), 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.

As 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 as Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he obtained 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。