Cross-cultural synthesis in Chen Qigang's piano composition Instants d'un opéra de pékin

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Yannan Li (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Andrew Willis

Abstract: The Chinese-born French composer Chen Qigang's solo piano composition Instants d'un Opéra de Pékin (Moments from a Peking Opera) demonstrates the fruitful interaction of traditional Chinese musical practices with modern Western compositional concepts as a medium for the composer's creativity. Chen Qigang seeks to integrate musical inspirations that derive from different cultural backgrounds into his own compositions, while conveying his native artistic heritage through complex technical constructions. A brief survey of the social, political, and cultural backgrounds of Chen Qigang will provide readers with a concrete historical context of Chinese music at the turn of the 1980s. Observations regarding traditional Chinese music will provide necessary support to analyze Chen's music. An introduction to some of the composer's representative ensemble works will illustrate his growing success in integrating ancient, traditional Chinese arts with modern, novel Western compositional methods. The score study of the piano solo composition Instants d'un Opéra de Pékin will primarily focus on its tonal language and formal design, revealing how the composer manipulates Chinese musical material using Western procedures and uses the technique of "developing variation" to elaborate a simple musical idea drawn from the music of the Peking Opera. Chen Qigang is among the first generation of Chinese composers who studied abroad to pursue his musical career after the Cultural Revolution. Compared with Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and a number of other Chinese composers, he is less well-known to North American audiences. This study aims to increase the awareness of and appreciation for contemporary Chinese music by introducing Chen's works to a wider public.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Developing Variation, Multiple Voices and Various Key Fields, Olivier Messiaen, Pentatonicism
Chen, Qigang, $d 1951- $t Instants d'un ope´ra de Pe´kin
Music $z China $x Western influences

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