Ching Wen Chao studied composition at the National Taiwan Normal University and received her Bachelor of Music there in 1995. In 1994, she participated in the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt . She then studied composition at the School of Music at Stanford University with Jonathan Harvey , Brian Ferneyhough and Chris Chafe, among others . In July 1999, she was a participant in the Stockhausen Kurse in Kürten . She also conducted research and studies for electronic music at the Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). In 2002 and 2003, she was lecturer at Stanford University. Nowadays she is assistant professor at the music department of the National Taiwan Normal University .
Chao received several international prizes and awards, including the first prize with her String Quartet No. 2 at the Young Composer Competition of the Asian Composer League in 1999, and the first prize of Music Taipei Composition Competition in Taiwan. Her works were performed at well-known international festivals such as Dresdner Tage Fuer Zeitgenössische Musik , Shanghai International Electroacoustic Music Festival , Festival des 38eme Rugissants in 2004, Contemporary Clarinet Music Festival , Seoul International Computer Music Festival ,Institute for Music and Music in Darmstadt , the International Conference of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles in 2005 in Singapore and the Electroacoustic Music Society Conference in 2008. Her works have also been performed at festivals in Canada, Indonesia, Colombia, South Korea and New Zealand.
Dark Light (2016, 2018) – Ching Wen Chao, for viola and ensemble
Dark Light is inspired by Fan Tsang Lang (Row in a Vast Billowing River), composed in Song Dynasty (960-1279). This classic work from the qin (7-string zither) repertoire has inspired several famous Chinese landscape ink paintings. The piece may denote a scholar who, deserted by the emperor, rows across where Hsiao River and Hsiang River meets. Accompanied by the clouds and mists on the river, the waves are sometimes calm and sometimes vigorously fluctuated. They reflect the chaotic world he lived in.
In Dark Light, pentatonic clusters shift rapidly between black and white keys in all ranges and attempt to form different colours of light particles hidden behind the solo viola. They are the “colours” glowing in an otherwise grey Chinese brush painting. The viola leads with “super-pentatonic scales” to connect these flying particles, which later become heterophonic melodic cells. Toward the end, the viola and the ensemble develop into two different dimensions in time, as if the scholar has retrieved to his own contemplation, indifferent to the surrounding stormy waves.
Dark Light was written for Amsterdam’s Nieuw Ensemble and premiered at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in April 2016. I have re-arranged it for a mixed ensemble of Chinese and western instruments for the collaboration between the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra and the Turning Point Ensemble.
《暗光》 (2016/2018) – 趙菁文，為中提琴與室內樂團