Program Notes by the composer
Hide and Seek takes the idea from the old and popular children’s game, where the music
materials are fragmented and hidden at the beginning. Through exploration by the duet, the
music evolves from fragmentation to a cohesive whole. This ongoing “hide and seek” process
allows listeners to use their imagination to know who is hiding and who is seeking— there is no
right or wrong way of interpreting it. Try to seek the hidden and have fun!
Hide and Seek was commissioned by Patrick Yim and Xiaodong Wei.
Praised as “a real talent” (Seattle Times) with “vivid, dramatic” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “enjoyable” (Gramophone) scores and “an incredible span of compositional tool box” (American Record Guide), Shuying Li is an award-winning composer who began her musical education in her native China. In her sophomore year at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, she won a scholarship to continue her undergraduate studies at The Hartt School in Connecticut. She holds doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and is a research faculty member at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. A passionate educator, Shuying has taught and directed the Composition/Music Theory Program at Gonzaga University. She joined the faculty at California State University, Sacramento in Fall 2022.
Shuying Li’s compositions have been performed by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Ningbo Symphony Orchestra (China), Alarm Will Sound Ensemble, American Lyric Theater, Argus Quartet, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Four Corners Ensemble, Hartford Opera Theater, Composers Conference Ensemble, Donald Sinta Quartet, Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble, Women’s Wind Ensemble, Orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), Avanti! Chamber Orchestra (Finland), ICon Arts Ensemble (Romania), Cecilia Quartet (Canada), 15.19. Ensemble (Italy), Ascanio Quartet (Italy), Atlas Ensemble (Netherlands), among others. Shuying has received awards or grants from OPERA America, China National Arts Fund, ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize, The American Prize, International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition, New Jersey Composers’ Guild Commission Competition, International Huang Zi Composition Competition, the Michigan Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composer Competition, Melta International Composition Competition, among others.
A believer that music has the innate power to promote cultural diversity by connecting people through universally human passions and values, Shuying founded the Four Corners Ensemble in 2017. As Artistic Director of the ensemble, Shuying’s efforts have led to residencies and performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, the Polish Consulate General in New York City, OPERA America, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the University of Michigan, The Hartt School, and the Hartford Opera Theater. Shuying also pioneered the Operation Opera Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and continued to build it into an annual festival for composers, vocalists, and pianists to collaborate on new chamber operas and chamber art songs. Four Corners’ debut album, World Map, a series of chamber concertos Shuying composed for the members, has received acclaim published in Gramophone, American Record Guide, Pizzicato, and Take Effect.
Recent or upcoming projects include performances by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, The Chelsea Symphony, West Edge Opera, Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia; an opera commissioned by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music with librettist Julian Crouch in development with the Houston Grand Opera supported by OPERA America; an orchestra consortium commission by ten orchestras; and two band consortium commissions including a CBDNA West/Northwest Region “Bridgework” Commission. For more information, please visit http://www.shuyingli.com. (April 2023)