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Yi Chen

Kansas City, MO      

As a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries, Dr. Chen Yi is the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001. She is the Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005.


Born in China, Ms. Chen has received bachelor and master degrees from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University in the City of New York. Her composition teachers included Wu Zu-qiang, Chou Wen-chung, and Mario Davidovsky. She has served as Composer-in-Residence for the Women’s Philharmonic, Chanticleer, and Aptos Creative Arts Center (93-96) supported by Meet The Composer, and on the composition faculty at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University (96-98).


Fellowships and commissioning awards were received from Guggenheim Foundation (96), American Academy of Arts and Letters (96), Fromm Foundation at Harvard University (94), Koussevitzky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress (97), and National Endowment for the Arts (94). Honors include the first prizes from the Chinese National Composition Competition (85, 12), the Lili Boulanger Award (93), the NYU Sorel Medal Award (96), the CalArts/Alpert Award (97), the UT Eddie Medora King Composition Prize (99), the ASCAP Concert Music Award (01), the Elise Stoeger Award (02) from Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Friendship Ambassador Award from Edgar Snow Fund (02), the UMKC Kauffman Award in Artistry/Scholarship and Faculty Service (06, 12). Honorary Doctorates are from Lawrence University (02), Baldwin-Wallace College (08), University of Portland (09), and The New School University (10). She was appointed by the China Ministry of Education to the prestigious Cheungkong Scholar Visiting Professor at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in 2006, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Tianjin Conservatory in 2012.


Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company, performed world wide, and recorded on Bis (02, 03, 04, 11), New Albion (97), CRI (99), Teldec (97, 99 w/ Grammy Award for Colors of Love, 03, 08), New World (08, 09 w/ NPR Top 10 Classical Music Album Award for Sound of the Five), Albany (04, 05, 06, 09), Naxos (08, 09, 12), and others on Delos, Angel, Nimbus, Bridge, Cala, Avant, Atma, Hugo, Koch International Classics, Centaur, Eroica, Capstone, Quartz, and China Record Co.


* Chen is family name, Yi is personal name. Chen Yi can be referred to Dr. Chen, Prof. Chen, Ms. Chen, or Chen Yi, but not Dr. Yi, Prof. Yi, or Ms. Yi.

Articles by Yi Chen:

Headlines November 5 2019 | By Yi Chen and Long Zhou
Truly a Wenren—Remembering Chou Wen-chung (1923-2019)

Chou Wen-chung is a music giant who mentored us in our creative lives for decades. He has made a huge contribution to the music of our time, yet he is...