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Ching Wen Chao

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
以單純的音樂物件,作橫向錯置或縱向堆疊,試圖激發出可能複雜的時間交織與聲響性格;《暗光》以11個音高所衍生的五聲音階音堆和聲(pentatonic clusters)為聲響基礎,快速地轉換在黑鍵與白鍵之間,就像是不同的色彩粒子,在這幅山水畫中每一個墨點落下時,我們彷彿可以在那黑白漸層中「看到」色彩的光芒,但卻是謙遜的、微微蘊藏的《暗光》。

中提琴獨奏以作曲家慣用的超級五聲音階(super-pentatonic scale)所構築成的旋律,在全曲中綿延不絕地流動,如同在江河之際獨自划泛輕舟,連結這些管弦樂團飛翔的色彩墨點;逐漸的,墨點擴散為支聲複音的線,與獨奏的線並進,而後又分為二個不同世界的速度,管弦樂團的急流狂浪,而中提琴卻自信優雅,不為所動。本曲靈感源自於古琴曲《泛滄浪》(相傳為南宋郭楚望所作),其琴譜解析「駕扁舟於五湖,棄功名如遺芥,載風月而播弄雲水,渺世事之若浮漚」,描述士大夫泛舟時,面對江流上的雲、霧、浪,時而湍急,時而淨靜,就如同面對亂世故作不見,而其心中卻是澎湃熱衷之矛盾。

《暗光》由荷蘭新室內樂團(Nieuw Ensemble)委託創作,2016年4月於具當代音樂指標性的阿姆斯特丹音樂廳首演。原作是為11位演奏家的室內樂編制,在小巨人絲竹樂團此次的邀請契機,改譜寫為中西室內樂團之版本。(撰文/趙菁文)