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Lily Chen

Berkeley, CA   

Lily Chen (b. 1985), born in Hualien, Taiwan, is a composer exploring timbral materials with subtle theatrical potentials in both acoustic and electronic music, which shape evocative atmospheres that point towards poetic commentary on her observations on literary, emotional, or social aspects of the contemporary condition. She is currently a PhD candidate in music composition at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is studying with Ken Ueno, Edmund Campion, Franck Bedrossian, and Cindy Cox. She got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, under the instruction of Chung-Kun Hung.

Since 2005, Lily has received several prizes, including 1st Prize of Asian Composers League Young Composers Award, !BAMM! Student Composers Competition, 1st and 2nd Prizes of Nicola de Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition (UC Berkeley), and some other prizes in Taiwan. Her music has also been performed at several international festivals in Taiwan, Korea, Israel, and throughout the United States, including June in Buffalo, Mise-en Music Festival, International Computer Music Conference, SEAMUS National Conference, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Midwest Graduate Music Consortium, and Asian Composers League Conference and Festival. Lily has also collaborated with several ensembles and orchestras, such as Eco Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Splinter Reeds, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Ensemble Mise-en, Ensemble Exceptet, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra. She recently had a 10-month composition residency in Paris as the recipient of the George Ladd Prix de Paris in 2015-16.

Fusing, Refusing, Diffusing: for 9 instruments

The title of the work, “Fusing, Refusing, Diffusing,” reveals the central idea I intend to express in the music. I choose the three words with the same root “fuse” to represent three phases of the timbral orchestration I’d like to explore: to fuse varieties of timbre by finding their similarities, to refuse the unity of the sounds by emphasizing the uniqueness of every single instrument, and to diffuse the hybrid or independent timbre to expand the texture, the idea, and the tension.

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Hypochondriasis: for Chin Solo and Live Electronics

Hypochondriasis is for chin (ancient Chinese 7-string zither) and live electronics. Due to the soft volume of chin, the necessary amplification expands the original sounds, which reminds me of the hypochondriasis, a psychological tendency to worry about having a serious illness. I associate this emotional activity with music, pretending to be a hypochondriac who exaggerates and distorts the sense, thus to find an appropriate role that the electronics plays, to build an intimate relationship between acoustics, amplification, and electronics.

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