Roche Commissions 2006
Chen Yi, who was born in the Chinese city of Guangzhou in 1953, had a broad musical training as a violinist, composer and ethnomusicologist. In 1988 she emigrated to the United States with her husband, who is also a composer. Her work combines Western music with the sound of traditional Chinese idiom. For Chen Yi, music is a universal language, but one that is inextricably bound up with the composer’s cultural and psychological makeup. As such, she believes her work is shaped by her Chinese roots, philosophy and customs. Chen Yi describes her music as a marriage of the consonant and dissonant, the tonal and atonal, expressing the sound of speaking Chinese in the Western music idiom.