Chen Yi to serve as distinguished guest composer for 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will welcome Chen Yi as a distinguished guest composer at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), scheduled for Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Chen (pictured) is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Along with many orchestral works, Chen has written numerous choral works and pieces of chamber music, including works written for traditional Chinese instruments.

Next July in Columbia, she’ll join Alex Mincek, who was named in October as the MICF’s other distinguished guest composer for 2018. The MICF features three public concerts of music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes, and other events. As in years past, Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will present the world premieres of new works from eight resident composers, with Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

The resident composers are selected for the MICF each year through an online portfolio application process. During the festival, they’ll get composition lessons from the distinguished guest composers and Mizzou faculty, and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a professional live recording of their work.

The deadline for submitting an application is 5:00 p.m. Central time, Friday, November 17, 2017. For more information or to apply to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit

The 2018 MICF will be Chen’s second visit to Columbia under the auspices of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. She previously came to Mizzou in 2015 for a brief residency during which the University Singers presented the world premiere of her composition “The Beautiful West Lake.”

In addition, her husband Zhou Long, also a professor of composition at UMKC’s conservatory and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for music, was one of two distinguished guest composers at the 2013 MICF, making them the only married couple who both have served in that capacity.

A violinist as well as a composer, Chen Yi earned bachelor and masters degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University.

She received the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005. Other honors include first prize from the Chinese National Composition Contest, Lili Boulanger Award, NYU Sorel Medal Award, CalArts/Alpert Award, and many more.

Chen has won fellowships and commissions from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Ford, Roche, and Rockefeller foundations; Meet The Composer, Chamber Music America;, the BBC Proms; the China National Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center Festival, and Carnegie Hall.

Ensembles and soloists commissioning her work have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Mira Wang and the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Seattle Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma and the Pacific Symphony, Evelyn Glennie and the Singapore Symphony, the Women’s Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and more.

Chen’s music is published by Theodore Presser Company, and has been recorded and released on more than 20 different labels, including New Albion, CRI, Angel, Koch International Classics, Delos, New World and Naxos.