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Chan Hing Yan's "Sonic Affairs": HKNME 2018 Commission

Updated: Aug 29, 2019


for solo sheng, flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, violin and bass

*with sponsorship from the CASH Music Fund


18.09.2018 11TH Shanghai New Music Week (China)

Programme Note:

Sonic Affairs – for sheng & chamber ensemble

I. Quickness

II. Lightness

III. Exactitude

IV. Multiplicity

Sonic Affairs is commissioned by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble for its 2018/19 open- season concert. The four-character Chinese title of Sonic Affairs is an idiom, and is a metaphor of the act of romantic dalliance: fenghua xueyue “flower in the breeze, snow under the moon.” Yet the work is not programmatic in any sense to portray dissipated affairs. Rather, the four Chinese characters each combines with another character to form a poetic subtitle that limits my compositional choices for each movement: zhufeng(the wind chase), yihua(flowers in dew), aoxue(defying snow), and tiyue(warbling under the moon). The resulting score is a four-part sonic palette of distinctive musical gestures, whose characteristics are defined by their respective English subtitles.

(Chan Hing Yan, 2018)

Composer Biography:

Chan Hing-yan is currently James Chen and Yuen-Han Chan Professor in Music at the University of Hong Kong. Lauded for their subtle mediation between Chinese elements and Western idioms, Professor Chan’s compositions have been heard around the world at prestigious festivals. Recent works include three chamber operas (2018, 2015, 2013). The first two were commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, who also entrusted Chan as the composer and Music Director of an extravaganza staged cantata to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover in 2017.

Professor Chan served as Artist Associate 2016-18 of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Over the years, the orchestra has commissioned and presented his works at home and abroad in Europe (2005), South America (2010), Canada and New York (2012), Taiwan (2016), Beijing (2010), and Shanghai (2007).

Professor Chan received the “Best Artist Award (Music)” at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards in 2013. His three collaborations with the City Contemporary Dance Company (2009, 2007, 2005) won him much acclaim as well as a Hong Kong Dance Award in 2008, when he also received commendation for “Persons with Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Arts and Culture” in the Secretary for Home Affairs’ Commendation Scheme.

At HKU, Professor Chan was conferred the Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award (2013-14), in recognition of his guidance to postgraduate students in the pursuit of research excellence. In addition, he has been an advisor to HKU’s Cultural Management Office since its inception, and has been instrumental in planning and delivering a number of innovative programmes for its MUSE series.

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