YAO Chen: “Miles Upon Miles”《绵亘万里》for solo violin (2018)

FB_Banners jan206

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


February 25, 2018 at the “Spirit of the Adventurers Concert Series” at the Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong. (World Premiere Performance)

August 18, 2018 at the National Museum of Denmark (The Danish Music Museum), Copenhagen, Denmark.

December 1, 2018 at the “Saturday Music Platform” (Presented by Kung Music Workshop & Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Art), Tai Kwun Laundry Steps, Hong Kong.

February 18, 2019 at the “Midday Oasis”「午間心靈綠洲」, Chung Chi College Chapel, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

March 9, 2019 at the West Kowloon District “Freespace Happening” Art Park, West Kowloon

March 21, 2019 at the “Time Travel: East to West” Recital at United International College Performance Theatre, Zhuhai, China (Hosted by the Division of Culture and Creativity Office)

April 29, 2019 at the – “Spring Fever” Violin and Piano Recital at Hyatt Regency, Kolkata, India (Presented by Hyatt Regency and Kolkata Classics)

May 2, 2019 – “Hessler Street Duo” Violin and Piano Recital at the Arts Rotunda, American University of Sharjah, UAE (Presented by American University of Sharjah)

May 4, 2019 – “Crossroads” Violin and Piano Recital at Dushanbe Serena Auditorium, Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Presented by Pitch Pipe Foundation and Dushanbe Serena)

May 5, 2019 – Violin and Piano Recital at the Bactria Cultural Centre, Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Presented by Bactria Cultural Centre and Pitch Pipe Foundation)

June 18, 2019 – Faculty Recital at the Summer Music Academy of the College of Music at the University of Colorado, Boulder

August 18, 2019 “From Schumann to Contemporary China” Violin and Piano Recital at the Burgh House Museum, Hampstead, London (Presented by Syntempo)

August 31, 2019 Recital at 小宇宙劇場 (Little Universe Theatre), Rizhao, Shandong, China

Programme Notes

姚晨 Yao Chen
绵亘万里 Miles upon Miles
For violin solo, 2018

Commissioned by Hong Kong Baptist University and violinist Patrick Yim for the occasion of “Miles upon Miles: World Heritage along the Silk Road” exhibition of the Hong Kong Museum of History.

1. Silk Road
2. Buddhist Mantra
3. Kung Fu

The ancient Silk Road facilitated the transmission, in ways both mysterious and rich, of
materials and cultural ideas at a time when extended travel was more or less impossible.
Sound was a constant companion on these journeys through deserts, mountains and rivers, and the incorporation of new sounds into the performing traditions of a plethora of cultures unleashed an unstoppable force in the course of music history: the free flow, across borders and cultures, of sound itself.

Miles upon Miles is my personal meditation on three of the myriad facets of this trade
route, or more broadly of zones of transition in general, and also on three ways of violin

The first movement, Silk Road, makes strong use of tremolos and trills to evoke a specific
atmosphere, which is presented right at the beginning, a simple ascending motif from which the entire piece expands. The rhythmic momentum relents here and there, to heighten the degree of expression, before ultimately fading into a mood of peaceful acceptance.

The closing passages of Silk Road foreshadow a feature of the second movement, Buddhist Mantra: the use of open strings. The movement is built on a cascade of three-note patterns played on the bridge, always varying, always restless, always striving forward until a moment when the mantra takes effect and sustained harmonics rise to the fore.

The last note of Buddhist Mantra is a plucked one, and this note signifies that pizzicato will be a dominant trait of the final movement, Kung Fu, which alternates plucked and bowed sounds in conjuring up an unstable and, yes, even martial world, one not far off from the rustic and hardscrabble world of folk fiddling at times. The music is sprightly but sophisticated, exciting and endearing.

About YAO Chen

In works of various dimensions, YAO Chen seeks paths toward transcendence. His music, always ritual in nature, eschews contemporary vogues and instead aims at a timelessness and an otherness that exists beyond the standard categories – music for the moment, but also music for then and music for what lies ahead.  Whether his work is brittle or forceful, or often both in coexistence, melancholy and a sense of wonder are recurring characteristics, as is an internationalist orientation grounded in a quest for maximal musical meaning.  His perceptions on musical time, timbre, intonation, pulsation, and expression are always at frontiers: between the old and the new, between the East and the West, between irrational mysticism and rational logic.  While devoting himself mainly to the field of contemporary art music, YAO also experiments with other genres, writing music for films and theatre productions.   Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary concepts permeate his creative inspiration and compositional output, presenting his understanding of the value of new music in enlivening global cultures.

His creative vision and aesthetic pursuit have resulted in his many compositions, such as Two Poems for orchestraimage2, the instrumental theatre piece Paramita, the three-act environmental theatre piece Playing the Opera on Pipa: Romance of the Western Chamber, and many Chinese-Western mixed instrumental works including Tsanglang…Tsanglang for flute, zheng and viola, Yearning for zheng and double bass, Jun for pipa and double bass. These pieces not only demonstrate his talent in navigating situations covering a wide emotional spectrum and dramaturgical elements in music writing, but also reveal his versatility in structuring musical forms that embrace mixed instruments, musical languages and styles.

In recent years, his music has received a significant amount of recognition in many distinguished international arenas.   His music has been performed by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (Grammy winner), Orchestre National de Lorraine, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, China Philharmonic,ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Pacifica String Quartet (Grammy Winner), Quatuor Diotima, eighth blackbird (Grammy winner), Tang Quartet, Civitas Ensemble (from Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Camerata Woodwind Quintet, Quintet of the Americas, New Fromm Players, Earplay Ensemble, Israel Contemporary Players, Conundrum, Wild Rumpus New Music Collective, TianYing Chinese Ensemble, Beijing New Music Ensemble, etc.   YAO has collaborated with countless artists, including conductors Cliff Colnot, Jacques Mercier,Rei Hotoda, Chen Lin, and Lio Kuokman, violin virtuoso Siow Lee-Chin and He Wei, viola virtuoso Yunjie(Jay) Liu, Xu Peijun and Veit Hertemstein double bassists DaXun Zhang, Michael Cameron and Chen Han-Jui, sopranos Tony Arnold and Allison Angelo, flutists Denis Bouriakov and Clara Novakova, pianist Nareh Arghamanyan, bayan-players Luo Han and Stanislav Venglevski, harpist Nicolas Tulliez, Chinese pipa-players Yang Wei and Lan Weiwei, marimba virtuoso Wen-Chen Lin, Chinese bamboo flutist Zhang Weiliang, zheng player Yu-Chen Wang, Kun Opera singer Lu Jia and Xiao Xiangping.

He has also received commissions, awards and fellowships from many prestigious organizations such as the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Mellon Collaborative Fellowship for Arts Practice and Scholarship at University of Chicago, New Music USA, Radio France (Festival Presence and Alla Breve), ASCAP, Barnett Family Foundation Flute Competition, Leonard Bernstein Fund, Art Institute of Chicago & Silk Road Chicago Project, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, TMSK Liu Tianhua Composition Competition, Greece International Composition Competition, East Carolina University Orchestral Composition Competition, Aspen Music Festival, Chinese Fine Arts Society International Composition Competition, Viacom-Sumner M. Redstone Foundation in China, Central Conservatory of Music, University of Chicago, etc.

YAO has shared his music with audiences at many music festivals throughout the world, including the Radio France’Festival Présences, Tanglewood Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, ISCM’s World Music Days (Slovenia), Centre Acanthes Festival, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, Asian Composers League Festival (Israel, Singapore and Japan), Moscow International Accordion Competition, International Tianjin Accordion Festival, Deutsch-Chinesisches Classic Music Festival (Germany), Stode Musicveckaiimage1 (Sweden), Beijing Modern Music Festival, Chicago Contempo Concerts, June In Buffalo Contemporary Festival, Poznan Musical Spring Festival (Poland), SoundField Music Festival (Chicago), soundSCAPE Music Festival (Italy), Random Access Music New Music Festival and the Music of Now Marathon Festival in New York City, East Carolina University New Music Festival, University of Louisville New Music Festival.

YAO embarked on his lifelong musical journey in the People’s Republic of China.   He received training in composition at Xinghai Conservatory of Music and Central Conservatory of Music. He received in his Ph.D in Composition from the University of Chicago. He is currently associate professor of composition at Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. In the past, he has hold professorships at the University of Chicago Music Department, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Music, the Illinois State University School of Music, and the Soochow University School of Music in China. YAO is his family name, and Chen is his given name.


在作曲家姚晨多样化的创作与思考维度中,他一直在寻找超然性。他的音乐本质上具有仪式感,规避了当代的时尚语汇,在标准和分类之外寻求一种非时间性和相异性。一种瞬时的音乐,一种此时彼时的音乐。 无论他的音乐是敏感纤腻、强悍有力,或是两者同时并存,忧郁和疏离感无处不在。在他对音乐意义无止境的追求中凸显了他国际主义的人文姿态。他对音乐表情、音色、律动、时间及结构的感知都处于临界地带:新与旧,东与西,非理性的神秘感与理性的逻辑感。同时,对独立电影和实验剧场的涉猎也有效地拓宽了他的音乐种类和风格。这些感知和体验深深渗透在他的创作之中,体现了他对新音乐创作在世界当代多元文化发展中的观点和态度。这种跨文化的审美,在他的乐队作品《诗两首》、器乐剧场《波罗密多》、 戏剧空间《琵琶弹戏:西厢记三折》、中西混合室内乐《骏》、《沧浪》、《婵娟》等作品中都有集中的呈现,充分展示了作曲家在处理音乐戏剧性、混合不同音乐材料风格等方面的创作才能。

作为一个活跃的青年作曲家,姚晨与许多中美音乐家都有密切的合作。这些音乐家包括指挥家Cliff Colnot、Rei Hotoda,Jacques Mercier,陈琳,廖国敏,纽约大都会歌剧院首席长笛演奏家Denis Bouriakov,法国室内交响乐团长笛首席Clara Novakova,美国科罗拉多交响乐团长笛首席Brook Ferguson,小提琴演奏家萧丽君,何为,杜玄,中提琴演奏家刘韵杰,徐沛珺,瑞士巴塞尔交响乐团中提琴首席Veit Hertemstein,法国巴黎广播乐团竖琴首席Nicolas Tulliez,中国爱乐乐团竖琴首席郭悦, 以色列单簧管演奏家Guy Yehuda,琵琶演奏家杨惟、兰维薇,古琴演奏家陈雷激,古筝演奏家王于真,马林巴演奏家林威震,竹笛演奏家张维良、王华,巴扬手风琴演奏家Stanislav Venglevski、罗汉,低音提琴演奏家张达寻、Michael Cameron、陈翰叡,昆曲艺术家吕佳,温宇航和萧向平,等等。

他的作品也被许多重要的大型演奏团体演奏过,包括获得格莱美古典大奖的美国Saint Paul室内交响乐团、美国Pacifica弦乐四重奏团和美国eighth blackbird六重奏团。此外,还有著名的美国St. Luke’s 交响乐队、法国Lorraine国家交响乐团、加拿大Winnipeg交响乐团、中国爱乐乐团,中国四川交响乐团、美国 Promusica 室内交响乐团 、芝加哥交响乐团麾下的Civitas Ensemble, New Fromm Players、法国Diotima Quatuor弦乐四重奏团、新加坡唐弦乐四重奏团、以色列当代音乐团、香港创音团、美国Camerata和Quintet of the Americas木管五重奏团等。

他的音乐也常出现在许多世界顶级的音乐节和音乐厅上,比如美国Tanglewood音乐节yaochenmain1,美国Aspen音乐节,日本太平洋国际音乐节,在斯洛文尼亚举办的国际当代音乐协会World Music Days音乐节, 法国Centre Acanthes当代音乐节, 莫斯科国际手风琴大赛,法国巴黎Festival Presences,亚洲作曲家联盟音乐节(以色列,新加坡,日本),意大利soundSCAPE 音乐节,波兰波兹南之春音乐节, 瑞典Stode Musicveckai音乐节,德国Deutsch-Chinesisches古典音乐节,美国June In Buffalo当代音乐节,美国芝加哥SoundField音乐节和Contempo音乐会系列,美国路易威尔大学新音乐节,台湾高雄国际打击乐节,中国北京现代音乐节,中国中央音乐学院民族音乐节,中国天津国际手风琴艺术节等等。

姚晨获得诸多荣誉、奖项和委约,包括:美国作曲家、作家及出版商协会、美国新音乐(New Music USA)、美国哈佛大学Fromm音乐基金会、梅隆基金会芝加哥大学艺术实践与学术合作奖、法国国家广播电台 (Festival Presence 和 Alla Breve)、纽约WQXR电台、美国匹兹堡交响乐团、美国Orpheus室内交响乐团、芝加哥艺术学院、美国Barnett家族基金会音乐比赛、美国中华才艺协会国际作曲比赛、加拿大Winnipeg交响乐团、希腊国际作曲比赛、中国TMSK刘天华中国民乐作曲比赛、美国东卡罗莱纳大学交响乐队作曲比赛、北京现代音乐节和中国广东民族乐团。另外,他曾担任美国Salvatore Martirano国际作曲比赛和Red Note国际作曲比赛的评委,还曾受邀担任2014伊利诺伊州立大学Red Note新音乐节的艺术总监。 近几年,他在世界著名艺术院校举办专题讲座,比如巴黎国立高等音乐舞蹈学院,米兰音乐学院,美国加利福尼亚大学伯克利分校音乐系,俄罗斯新西伯利亚格林卡音乐学院,北京电影学院摄影系,等等。