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Chinese Ancient Dances

For B-Flat Clarinet and Piano

By Chen Yi

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Chamber Clarinet, Piano
For B-Flat Clarinet and Piano. Composed by Chen Yi (1953-). Sws. Set of Score and Parts. With Standard notation. Composed 2004. 12+4 pages. Duration 8 minutes. Theodore Presser Company #114-41262. Published by Theodore Presser Company (PR.114412620).

Item Number: PR.114412620

ISBN 9781598065046. 9x12 inches.

Chen Yi uses two folk dances from ancient China as background for her clarinet solo, with explanatory historical notes. For advanced clarinetists in search of a new challenge with a wholly different sound. _______________________________________ CHEN YI Born in Guangzhou, China, Chen Yi started studying violin and piano when she was only three, and received BA and MA music degrees from the Beijing Central Conservatory and a DMA degree from Columbia University in New York. Her composition teachers have included Chou Wen-Chung, Mario Davidovsky, Wu Zu-Qiang, and Alexander Goehr. Currently the Lorena Searcey Cravens Millsap Missouri Distinguished Professor in Music Composition at the Conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Dr. Chen has also served on the composition faculty of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore (1996-98), and has been the Composer-in-Residence of the Women's Philharmonic, Chanticleer, and the Aptos Creative Arts Center in San Francisco, supported by Meet the Composer's New Residencies program. Chen Yi has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Women's Philharmonic, Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin, Yo-Yo Ma, Evelyn Glennie, Rascher Saxophone Quartet, Ying Quartet, New Music Consort, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Network for New Music, Music From China, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. Major commissions have been supported by the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Ford, Rockefeller, and Roche Foundations, Chamber Music America, Creative Work Fund, San Francisco Art Commission, Mary Cary Flagler Trust, NEA, NYSCA, Carnegie Hall, New Heritage Music Foundation, American Guild of Organists, and Meet The Composer. Dr. Chen's music has also been performed by major orchestras and soloists throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Fellowships have been received from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and American Academy of Arts and Letters. Honors include the prestigious Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Eddie Medora King Composition Prize, the Lili Boulanger Award, the Sorel Medal Award, the Cal Arts Alpert Award, the Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the top prize from the China National Composition Competition. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. Her music has been recorded on the Albany, Bis, New Albion, CRI, Teldec, Angel, Nimbus, Cala, Avant, Atma, Hugo, Koch International Classics, Delos, Centaur, Eroica, and China Record Corporation labels. For further information on the music of Chen Yi, please visit
Co-commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Virginia Arts Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, and Chamber Music Northwest, the duo Chinese Ancient Dances was written for and dedicated to David Shifrin and Andre-Michel Schub for their national tour and their Alice Tully Hall premiere on May 7, 2004. The premiere performance was dedicated to celebrating the 70th birthday of Prof. Mario Davidovsky, one of my great professors at Columbia University. The work consists of two movements: I. Ox Tail Dance, and II. Hu Xuan Dance. It is said that in ancient times, there was an ethnic group called Ge Tian Shi. Three people would dance in slow steps with ox tails in their hands, while singing eight songs to praise the earth, the totem of the black bird, plants, grains, nature, heaven, weather, and the flourishing of breeding livestock. I got my inspiration from imagining the gestures of holding the ox tails and went into the atmosphere of composing the first movement, Ox Tail Dance. There is a poem called "Hu Xuan Lady" written by the famous poet Bai Ju-Yi in the Tang Dynasty, who described the Hu Xuan dance in detail. The energetic dance has continuous fast, spinning gestures, introduced to China from the West in ancient times. I reproduced this image in the second movement of my music, written vividly for clarinet and piano.

  • I. Ox Tail Dance 
  • II. Hu Xuan Dance 

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