2023 Resident Composer Spotlight: Chen Yihan

Chen Yihan is one of eight Resident Composers selected for the 2023 Mizzou International Composers Festival from among 500 applicants, 28% from outside USA representing 49 countries. 

Chen Yihan, a native of Changzhou, China, is a composer and pianist based in Princeton, NJ. His music has been performed by orchestras and ensembles including the China Philharmonic Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, China National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the China National Opera House, American Composers Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, and Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, among others. Renowned artists such as pianist Tamara Stefanovich and multi-instrumentalist Min Xiao-Fen have also performed his music.  

Yihan has received honors such as the Copland House Residency Award, three ASCAP Morton Gould Award, the Jacobs School of Music Dean’s Prize, and recognition from the American Prize and the National Association of Composers/USA, among others. In 2023, Yihan made his debut as a film composer with the Chinese-language commercial feature film “Manifesto,” produced by the Shanghai Film Group Corporation. 

Hailed as “colorful” and “incisive” by Oregon Artswatch, Yihan is also an active pianist. As a featured performer at Portland Piano International’s contemporary piano festival “The Clearing,” he has shared the stage with renowned pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich. Active as a new music pianist, Yihan has premiered numerous contemporary composers’ works. His achievements as a pianist include winning the Grand Prize at the Cincinnati World Piano Competition, the New World Youth Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, the Young Artist Concerto Competition at Murray State University, and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. Yihan made his debut as an orchestral soloist at the age of 11 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, performing with the New World Youth Symphony Orchestra. 

Yihan is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in composition at Princeton University and holds a master’s degree in composition from the Juilliard School and bachelor’s degrees in composition and piano from the Jacobs School of Music. 

For the MICF, he rearranged Huntongese Cacophony (2023), which will be performed on Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 pm at the Missouri Theater. The concert will feature Alarm Will Sound playing world premiere performances by Resident Composers. 

You can hear samples of Chen Yihan’s music on his website