Works performed by Earplay:

Sotto Voce

The music of Yao Chen (b. 1976) strikes audiences with its innovative ways of bringing together the traditions of Chinese and Western music and its poetic telling of the composer's innermost thoughts. 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 contemporary cultures. These aesthetic pursuits and values have been realized within his recent works, such as Two Poems for orchestra, Jun for pipa and double bass, Yearning for zheng and double bass, and the instrumental theatre piece Paramita.

In recent years, Yao’s music has received recognition in many distinguished international arenas. Yao has shared his music with audiences at many music festivals and by orchestras throughout the world.

Yao embarked on his lifelong musical journey in the People's Republic of China. He received rigorous training in composition and and music theory at the prestigious Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou and Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He holds a Ph.D. degree in composition from the University of Chicago. He lectured at the University of Chicago Music Department and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Music. He currently serves as Assistant Professor in Composition at the Illinois State University School of Music.

[from program for March 18, 2013 concert]