School of Music News

KSU School of Music Releases Album Featuring Music of Chinese Composer Chen Yi

Album titled “Chinese Rap” includes commissioned piece commemorating KSU professor’s tenure

Kennesaw, GA (June 16, 2016)–– The Kennesaw State University School of Music has released an album featuring music by Chinese composer Chen Yi performed by Kennesaw State students and faculty. Officially released on June 10, 2016 by classical music label Centaur Records, the album was recorded on campus in Morgan Concert Hall and is the first commercial recording released by the School of Music. In partnership with the School of Music, the KSU Confucius Institute, an organization that aims to promote Chinese language, education, and cultural exchanges, provided significant support for producing the album.

The project began in 2014 when Chen Yi made a special visit to KSU as the featured guest composer for the School of Music’s annual Kennesaw State Festival of New Music. During her visit, the composer participated in master classes and seminars and spent time working with students, including coaching rehearsals with student ensembles performing her compositions.

Born in China in 1953, Chen Yi studied music composition at the Central Conservatory in Beijing before earning her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University in New York. Currently serving as Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Dr. Chen is known internationally as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

The name of the album, Chinese Rap, is taken from the title of the disc’s opening track featuring Helen Kim, associate professor of violin, as soloist with the KSU Symphony Orchestra. This special piece, officially titled “Chinese Rap for Violin and Orchestra,” was commissioned by the KSU School of Music to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Kim joining the faculty at Kennesaw State.

Describing the piece, Dr. Chen says, “The work is inspired by Chinese folk musical story telling, Quyi, in a form of mixed reciting and singing style, with interludes played by percussion and plucking instruments in accompaniment… The melodies are delicate and leisurely, and the rhythmic parts are energetic, vivid and lively. There are big contrasts between sections, which are juxtaposed and connected smoothly and congenially.”

In addition to the commissioned piece, the album also features works performed by student ensembles and faculty. The KSU Chamber Singers perform selections from the composer’s 1994 work “A Set of Chinese Folksongs, Vol. 1” including Fengyang Song, Flowing Stream, and Diu Diu Deng. Violinist Helen Kim is featured again later on the album performing “Romance & Dance for Violin and Piano” along with Robert Henry, KSU pianist and artist-in-residence. The next track features Chen Yi’s exciting work “Tu for Wind Ensemble” which was originally written in 2002 for symphony orchestra but was arranged for band in 2004 and performed by the KSU Wind Ensemble for this release. Closing the album is a live recording of Dr. Chen’s 1998 orchestral work Momentum performed by the KSU Symphony Orchestra.

The album is now available for digital purchase and streaming from most major online music services, including Apple iTunes. Physical copies of the album on CD are available from most major online retainers, including HB Direct (www.hbdirect.com), ArkivMusic (www.arkivmusic.com), and Amazon (www.amazon.com).

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