Chen Xiaoyong was born in Peking in 1955, where he first studied violin and
then composition from 1980 until 1985 at the Central Conservatory. He completed
studies immediately afterwards with György Ligeti in 1989 at the Academy of
Music and Theatre in Hamburg.
Chen celebrated his European debut as a composer in 1987 at the Donaueschingen
Music Days with the premiere performance of his FIRST STRING QUARTET by the
Auryn Quartet. In 1992 the orchestral work DYEH... was premiered as a commissioned
work of the Southwest German Radio in Baden-Baden. During the same year Chen
was awarded the composition prize of West German Radio's Young Composers'
Forum for his composition "YÜN" for soprano and 11 instrumentalists, which
was launched by Peter Eötvös with the Ensemble Modern in Cologne, then subsequently
presented in Leipzig and Dresden. His WARP for chamber ensemble and the FIRST
STRING QUARTET were performed during the course of a tour of the Deutsche
Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in Amsterdam and Vienna. Since then there has been
an intensive collaboration with this orchestra out of which three composition
commissions have arisen: WARP (1994), EVAPORA (1996) and INVISIBLE LANDSCAPES
(1998). The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie produced the portrait CD entitled
Invisible Landscapes in 1999 in cooperation with Radio Bremen; this CD was
awarded the highest number of points in all five quality categories in the
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. Also in 1999, he wrote the orchestral work INTERLACED
LANDSCAPES, which was commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation;
this work received seven performances with the Orquesta Gulbenkian under Muhai
Tang on a tour through China and Portugal. The composition FUSION for ensemble
was written in the year 2000 to a commission from the cellist Yo-Yo Ma for
his Silk Road Project. The composition XI-FUSION III for ensemble was given
its world premiere as a commission from the Asia-Africa Institute of the University
of Hamburg in June 2002.
Chen Xiaoyong belongs to a small group of Chinese composers who have very
recently aroused great attention on an international scale. He has worked
with numerous orchestras and ensembles; these include the Southwest Radio
Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden, the KBS Symphony Orchestra Seoul, Orchestre
Philharmonique de Radio France, State Philharmonic Orchestra Hamburg, National
Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Gulbenkian Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern,
London Sinfonietta, Ensemble 2e2m Paris, Ensemble work in progress Berlin,
Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam, Silk Road Ensemble New York, Auryn Quartet, Arditti
String Quartet, Kairos Quartet, etc.
Performances of his works have meanwhile taken place on all continents, including
most major European, American and Asian festivals. Chen is now working on
several commissioned works for the ensemble acht (Hamburg), Art Point/ensemble
Musica Temporale (Dresden), Norrkörrping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), RTV
Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, etc.
Chen Xiaoyong received the Christoph and Stephan Kaske Prize in Munich in
1993 and the Bach Prize Stipend of the Hansestadt Hamburg in 1995. Guest professorships
have constantly taken him to Taiwan, Hong Kong and China since 1997. Chen
has been an instructor at the Asia-Africa Institute of the University of Hamburg
since 1987 and lives as a freelance composer in Hamburg.