12. Yuan-Chen Li 李元貞, Composer/2014/10

Yuan-Chen Li 李元貞, Composer

Yuan-Chen Li (b.1980, Taiwan), Composer

Li first arrived on the contemporary music scene in Taiwan with her very personal use of instrumentation and style in her chamber music piece Zang (the funeral) in 2000. In 2003, the expression and orchestration of her orchestral work Awakening won the prize at the Asian Music Festival 2003 in Tokyo from the Asian Composers’ League, and was subsequently premiered by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In recent years, Li’s music reflects her transformation of processes and concepts in Chinese phonology, Taiwanese chamber and aboriginal music, Asian traditional arts, literature, and Buddhism into a compositional technique for solo, chamber, and orchestra of both Western and Chinese instruments, offering new experience to her audience and collaborators with the cross-cultural and cross-disciplined approach to musical time, space, and drama. With her virtuosity in instrumentation and fluency in converging and synthesizing contrastingly cultural, musical and conceptual ideas, her treatment of the space of the sonority, temporality, texture, and syntax have engaged musicians of different practices, critics, researchers, and worldwide listeners.

Featuring her distinct artistry in different contexts, Li’s work has been programmed in many concert series and festivals: EarTaxi New Music Festival (Chicago, 2016), American Composers Orchestra’s EarShot (Buffalo, 2015), Northwestern University Institute for New Music NUNC! (Chicago, 2014), Asian Composers’ League (Tel-Aviv 2012, Tokyo 2003), 2012 Thailand International Composition Festival, IMANI Winds Chamber Music Festival (New York, 2012), Contempo series (University of Chicago, 2010-2015), Peace Cross-strait Orchestra Concert (China and Taiwan, 2009), Composers/Pianists concert series (New England, 2008-9), New Music New Haven (Yale, 2006-08), The Female Form: Women Composers (New York, 2008), Listening to the 21Century (Taipei, 2007), Soundbridges (Berlin, 2007), Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Norfolk, 2007), Tune in to Taiwan 2003 (Taipei, 2003), New Ideal Dance Festival (Taipei, 2003), and Kuan-Du Musical Soiree (Taipei, 2001).

Major honors and awards include an Artist Residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris (2010, Taipei Artist Village), grants from the National Culture and Arts Foundation of Taiwan, the Ezra Laderman Prize, the Rena Greenwalk Memorial Prize, Finalist, Martirano Award 2016, First prize of Literature and Art Creation Award (Taiwan), the Chang-Hui Hsu Memorial Prize of Asian Composers League, Study Abroad Scholarship from the Education Minister (Taiwan), and Scholarship of Arts from Tzu Chi Foundation. Recent commissions are from the Yale-Taiwan Music Group, National Performing Arts Center (Taiwan), and soloists such as harpist Li-Ya Huang, and clarinetist Tsai-Pei Lun.

Li received Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Chicago in 2015. Her primary advisors are composers such as Marta Ptaszynska and Shulamit Ran, conductor Cliff Colnot, musicologist Martha Feldman, and theorist Lawrence Zbikowski. Before her residence in Chicago, Li earned the Artist Diploma from the Yale University. Her dissertation “Wandering Viewpoint,” a concerto for solo cello and two ensembles, is about maintaining the freedom and the independence of the soloist in a highly assimilated texture and sound competed by two ensembles of similar instrumentations, which The piece receives review that Li’s compositional voice “original and somewhat difficult to describe,” “engaging” (Chicago Classical Review, 2015.4.24).  Accompanied with her Ph.D. degree is a paper entitled “Difficult Voice in Vocal Composition, Composers’ Aesthetic Responses to Secondhand Holocaust Experiences,” featuring three case studies, such as Chaya Czernowin’s opera Pnima…ins innere, Meredith Monk’s theater opera Quarry, and Schoenberg A Survivor from Warsaw, using psychoanalytic theory to discuss musical transgenerational phenomenon of the post-war music.  Li also holds Artist Diploma from The Yale University School of Music (2008), studying composition with Martin Bresnick, and M.F.A. (2006) and B.F.A.(2003) from Taipei University of the Arts, having studied composition and theory with Tsung-Hsien Yang and Chung-Kun Hung. Before entering college she studied composition and classical music for ten years with Ting-Lien Wu.

Committed to cultivate the combination of new music composition, interpretation, and community, she has frequently collaborated with Paul Ching-Po Chiang, conductor of Moment Musicaux Philharmonia (Taiwan), National Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan), and Chinese ensemble Chai-Found Music Workshop (Taiwan). Since 2011, Li has been mentored by Maestro Cliff Colnot, from whom she has been introduced to professional notation, rehearsal techniques, and editorial work for orchestra, chamber music and songs. In 2016-2017, she holds a visiting professor position at Reed College (Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.),teaching advanced harmony (Atonal Music), form and analysis, composition, seminar on East Asian new music, and conducting the college orchestra.


李元貞 Yuan-Chen LI (b.1980), 作曲家

李元貞,為臺灣六字級末之年輕輩作曲家。幼時由吳丁連啟蒙作曲與古典音樂,與梁孔玲學鋼琴。1998年起就讀臺北藝術大學,跟隨作曲家洪崇焜與楊聰賢,獲得學士與碩士學位,並向李楓和李殿魁學習古琴與音韻學,並在「2000亞太藝術節」期間與日本能笛家瀧澤成實學習能笛。在台期間,作品被民族音樂學者吳榮順和擊樂家徐伯年(十方樂集)賞識。2006年旅美留學,受到吳氏夫婦以及鋼琴家林和惠的支助,於2008年取得耶魯大學藝術家文憑,師事 Martin Bresnick 和 Michael Friedmann 等人;於2009年度獲得芝加哥大學入學許可及全額獎學金,以及2011年度教育部留學獎學金,在 2015 年以精神分析的方法所著的論文The Difficult Voice in Vocal Composition – Composers’ Aesthetic Responses to Secondhand Holocaust Experiences (困難之聲 – 作曲家對於猶太屠殺二手經驗的藝術性回應) 獲得博士候選人資格,並在同年以音樂作品「漂點」取得音樂哲學博士 (人文學院音樂系)。期間師事波蘭作曲家 Marta Ptaszynska,和新音樂節目系列 contempo 藝術總監 Shulamit Ran 的指導,向芝加哥交響樂團現代音樂 (MusicNOW) 總監 Cliff Colnot 學習管弦樂法和排練。留學期間,與音樂總監梁孔玲、作曲家李子聲、指揮家江靖波、以及國家表演中心等有重要的合作。

李元貞20歲時即以室內樂《葬》不尋常的配器與北管風格使她受到作曲界的關注,而在 2003年【東京2003年亞洲音樂節】(Asian Music Festival 2003 in Tokyo) 首演的大型管絃樂《春日醉起言志》顯示她卓越的管絃樂法與想像力,為“某種程度似乎總結了近半個世紀台灣追求二十世紀「音樂現代性」的成果”(連憲升, 2008)。碩士學位的代表作《間奏曲:參》納用古琴,轉化戲曲聲韻的音色現象至室內樂的樂器實踐,來闡述禪坐的心靈空間。作曲家李子聲評(2010):「少見作品編制為十件西洋樂器與罕見用於合奏的中國古琴,此異質性與個性極強的古琴並非如往常作曲家將之視為主奏者的處理手法,而是徹底融入合奏中,與其他樂器平起平坐,共同營造出樂曲迷人的氛圍。」而她在古箏獨奏《貓嬉》所運用的肢體、念唱或演奏場域等表演元素,解放古箏固有的性向,其逆向操作和趣味大受傳統音樂界的矚目。編曲風格多元,除了為國寶級客家歌手賴碧霞等改編國樂團伴奏外(2006),也在2010年的改編作品《福爾摩沙之民歌新聲集》,以台灣四大語系國、台、客暨原住民語等流行歌謠組成,打造精緻藝術化、適合古典美聲的「民歌集」。留美後的寫作重心轉為開發音樂中的意念與聲域兩者之間的迴遊與轉化,例如古箏協奏曲《飛天》,大提琴協奏曲《漂點》,利用獨奏與協奏的關係,在支聲複音 (heterophony) 與獨創的梵唄體 (free-chant) 來闡述人與自然,人與社會的衝突與包容。

作品獲選發表於University of Chicago【Contempo】系列、Thailand International Saxophone Conference、Imani Winds 音樂節、09年海峽和平交響樂團音樂會、北京國際古箏音樂節、08年紐約【Concert Artist Guild】、08-9新英格蘭【Composer/Pianist Concert Series】、柏林【Soundbridges: New Music From Taiwan】,兩廳院【台灣新銳作曲家聯展】、耶魯大學 【New Music New Haven】系列音樂會、07年【Norfolk Chamber Music Festival】、05、06年度許常惠文藝基金會之【青年作曲者傑出作品音樂會】與【制樂小集】、十方樂集十週年慶【擊樂嬉遊祭】、日本【東京 2003年亞洲音樂節】,連續03、04年度兩廳院主辦之【啟動臺灣的聲音】,2001年【關渡新創新聲】等等。作品已收錄並出版於台灣及海外等唱片和學術電子目錄,《台灣現代箏樂集一》(采風)、《台灣現代音樂三》(十方)、Formosa Caprices (Griffin) 等。重要作品與榮譽有國立中正文化中心暨國家表演中心「樂典」系列委託《間奏曲:商》(2012)、《間奏曲:參》獲2005年度教育部文藝獎室內樂首獎,《春日醉起言志》獲亞洲作曲家聯盟之許常惠紀念獎、《葬》獲慈濟藝術獎學金、 並在留學期間獲 Jacob Druckman 獎學金,Ezra Laderman Prize、 Rena Greenwalk Memorial Prize、教育部留學獎等,以及 2010 年度西提藝術村的駐村作曲家 (台北藝術村贊助)。所接獲的委託,包括十方樂集、采風樂坊 (林軍汎)、國家交響樂團、國家實驗國樂團、樂興之時圓桌武士以及管弦樂團、對位室內樂團、Norfolk Chamber Music Festival,以及演奏名家如楊千瑩、莊孟勳、胡志龍、黃好吟、以及李世揚等等。

李元貞近年來在專業的表現,除了創作,亦包括講習與推廣,題材包括傳統樂器與音樂的再創造,宗教、詩詞、與社會精神與批評作為音樂創作的靈感等等,曾被邀請至交通大學(台灣)、國立臺北藝術大學、海洋大等、蘇州大學 (中國) 等校座談。她在 2008 年被推舉為校園創意詩作班 (Cedarhurst School) 譜曲 (Out Reach Project Composer),並在 2008、2012-15 年間於耶魯大學、New Haven 中學才藝教育、和芝加哥大學等主持舞蹈電影伴奏、管弦樂伴奏、作曲、理論、和通識等課程。其無比的熱忱與創意,獲得老師的佳評與學生的喜愛。她的作品自 2002 年起,即受學者與研究員的注意,現有的評論與研究論文可見於表演雜誌、繞樑、以及傳藝月刊,見楊建章、連憲升、許雯婷之專文或論壇論文,以及葉娟礽,游凱婷的碩士論文,和廖玲妮,陳翰瑞,Cindy Howng等博士論文和博士資格論文,以及簡巧珍《台灣新音樂發展之軌跡》中的篇章「新生代女作曲家」。

李元貞目前為客座教授,任教於美國奧利岡州波特蘭市的里德學院 (Reed College),教導作曲、曲式分析、高階和聲 (無調性)、亞洲新音樂專題、以及指揮大學樂團。

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