(Commissioned by violinist Patrick T.S. Yim)
September 13, 2019 at the Recital Hall of the Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR (World Premiere Performance)
In this work, there are three levels of “Duello” going on at the same time: 1. The themes are always played alternatively by the two violins, creating an antiphonal effect; 2. The two players are playing in different meters most of the times (duple division vs. triple division), building rhythmic tension; 3. The music starts with focuses on F-sharp and B-flat, the first two notes one might encounter outside of a “C-major center,” generating a conflict between the sharp and flat zones as well as a platform for the later, more chromatic development.
Duello is commissioned by Professor Patrick Yim of the Hong Kong Baptist University with a world premiere by Professor Yim and Yinbin Qian at the Recital Hall of HKBU on September 13, 2019.
About SHEN Yiwen
Dr. Shen Yiwen is a Chinese conductor, composer, and pianist. He currently serves as the assistant conductor of the Prince George’s Philharmonic (MD), co-director of the University of Maryland Repertoire Orchestra, and the assistant conductor of the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra. Previous positions include the assistant conductor of the National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra as well as the prep conductor of the Juilliard Orchestra. He has worked with the North Czech Philharmonic and the Karlovy Vary Symphony in Czech Republic, the MÁV Symphony Orchestra in Hungary, the Orchestra of Magna Graecia in Italy, and the Royal Camerata and the Bucharest Philharmonic in Romania. He has performed in master classes led by Alan Gilbert, Ludovic Morlot, Jorma Panula, Christian Ehwald, David Itkin, Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Maurice Peress, and Sigmund Thorp. He also attended the Monteux School & Music Festival from 2015-2018.
As a composer, Yiwen’s music has been performed in all six habitable continents and hailed as “a jaunty, vibrantly scored canvas” and “with a lucid, economical lyricism” by the New York Times. His compositional awards include the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Gena Raps String Quartet Award, Arthur Friedman Prize, 1st prize from SCI/ASCAP Composition Commission, 2nd prize from the First China Clarinet Composition Competition, winners of the Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab, Minnesota Orchestra’s Composer Institute and the Albany Symphony’s Composer to Center Stage Competition, two top prizes from Chinese National Composition Competitions, Chinese Golden Bell Award, and Distinguished Achievement of the Year in Music Composition in Shanghai. Other career highlights are major orchestral premieres with the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä, Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero, American Symphony under Leon Botstein, Beijing Symphony under Lin Da-ye, Albany Symphony under David Alan Miller, Juilliard Orchestra under Jeffrey Milarsky, and Bard Conservatory Orchestra for its first international tour of China. His full-length ballet, Crane Whisperer, commissioned by the National Ballet of China and premiered in 2015, was toured to 30-40 cities in China with more than 50 performances within the first year of the production. The ballet received its European debut in July 2017 in Hamburg, Germany.
His music has also been commissioned and performed by ensembles such as Shanghai Opera House Orchestra, Bowling Green Philharmonic, Aeolus String Quartet, Omer String Quartet, Colorado String Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, Music from China Ensemble, TALEA Ensemble, Dal Niente Ensemble, The New York Virtuoso Singers, among others. He was invited to be in residence at the artist colony Yaddo and has been a composition fellow at the Aspen, Atlantic, Bowdoin, Great Lake, and Staunton music festivals. Current projects include a new work to be premiered in Spring 2019 by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and a few multimedia compositions.
Yiwen’s piano playing has been praised as “deftly” by the New York Times and “impeccable” by Seen And Heard International Concert Review. He has soloed with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra and the New Juilliard Ensemble and played with the Axiom Ensemble at Lincoln Center. He can also be heard in recording on Chinese Bamboo Flute Master Tang Junqiao’s Magical Flute of China, released by Channels Classics Records in 2007.
Yiwen holds a dual-Bachelor degree in Composition and German Studies from Bard College and its Conservatory, a Master’s and a Doctoral degree in Composition from The Juilliard School where he also taught from 2011 to 2016, and a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Maryland. His composition mentors are Joan Tower, George Tsontakis, Samuel Adler, and Robert Beaser, and his conducting teachers are James Ross, José-Luis Novo, and Michael Jinbo.