Two recent commissions have elevated the KT Wong Foundation’s output in original classical music to a new level with new pieces by both Qigang Chen and Zou Ye both debuting in 2014. The foundation commissioned leading composer Qigang Chen to write “Joie Eternelle” for renowned British trumpet player Alison Balsom, who performed the piece at the BBC Proms on 19th July 2014.
Born in Shanghai to a family of artists, Chen grew up during the tumultous times of the Cultural Revolution, eventually passing a test that allowed him to study abroad in 1977. At the age of 33 he arrived in Paris and became the last student of Olivier Messian, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.
Chen has since forged a successful career as one of China’s leading composers. In addition to writing hundreds of pieces for orchestras, he has worked with film director Zhang Yimou on various projects and was the music director of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
The commissioned piece, which The Guardian has been described as “a haunting, timeless beauty”, has a distinct Chinese accent and is the first concert piece he wrote after he suffered the loss of his only son in 2008 in a car accident.
The foundation also commissioned acclaimed Chinese composer Zou Ye to write a new score for the remastered version of the classic, Chinese silent film “The Goddess” premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival 2014. Music is integral to the identity and perception of the film. This new composition therefore is a contemporary response to an old classic masterpiece.
Zou Ye, born in 1957, in Henan Province, was from the first generation of film score composers from the Wuhan Music Conservatoire. He is best known for his collaboration with the fifth generation of filmmakers in China, such as Huang Jianzhong (Spring Festival, 1991) and Yin Li (The Knot, 2006).
Zou worked and lived through the most exciting development of the Chinese film industry since the early 1980s. He has composed over 100 productions for TV and films. In addition, Zou was the honorary composer-in-residence of one of China’s leading orchestras: the China Philharmonic Orchestra.