Family arriving at Taiwan Fulbright Office

In February 2011, Our Names 請恢復我們的姓名 was premiered and performed three times by Network for New Music in Philadelphia (info here).  This work features a narrator who speaks a poem written by a blind aboriginal poet, Mo, Na-Neng 莫那能 from the Paiwan 排灣 tribe in Taiwan.  The poem grapples with issues of social injustice and inequality. 

Shih-Hui attended the concerts and also coached high school chamber music students at the Philadelphia Sinfonia who prepared the first movement (Fantasia) of her string quartet, Mei Hua (YouTube clip on left).

photo credit: Scott Shiue

陳士惠   Recent News Articles:

Fanfare Magazine Article (May/June 2014)

Rice Magazine Article (Summer 2014)

NTU Interview (June 2011)

For the latest news, go to Shih-hui’s Facebook page.

Shih-Hui is organizing a series of concert/film events for Returning Souls in March which will tour six universities across the United States  including Harvard University, Columbia University, UC Berkeley and Rice (Asia Society Texas).  The director Hu Tai-Li will travel from Taiwan to attend these events and participate in panel discussions. 

In May of 2013, Shih-Hui will return to Taiwan for a year to continue her research of Taiwanese indigenous music with support from a Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fellowship. During this time, she will return to Academia Sinica to compose Postcards from a Formosan Paiwan Village and will examine indigenous musical source materials for an analytical essay.

Upcoming premieres include: A Plea to Lady Chang’e for string quartet and Nanguan pipa (Taipei in November, 2013), War Songs: from Middle Kingdom to Tartars for flute and guitar (on a concert devoted to Chen’s works at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in February, 2014), Returning Souls: Four Short Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends for String Quartet (Formosa String Quartet, San Diego Museum of Art in April, 2014), and Three Poems from the Ancient Dynasty of Tang for chamber orchestra (Appassionata Chamber Orchestra, Montreal, Canada).  Shih-hui also looks forward to the release of a solo CD entirely dedicated to her work by New World Records this year.

For 2014, Chen is organizing a concert tour to bring the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra from Taipei to the US, China, and Canada. The purpose of this tour is to present traditional and newly composed music by Asian and Western composers for a mixed ensemble of traditional Chinese and Western instruments, and to educate young musicians through readings and workshops.

陳士惠   2012 Events

Last summer was really exciting for Shih-Hui as she returned to Taiwan to participate in several interesting activities.  First, Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossoms for String Orchestra was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Taipei.  She also accompanied anthropologist Hu Tai-Li to attend two screenings of the film Returning Souls in Amis tribal regions and observed their discussions which was an amazing experience.  Shih-Hui intends to write her thoughts on this visit when she finds time during her busy teaching schedule -- stay tuned. 

陳士惠   2011

2011 was an extremely rewarding year for Shih-Hui who lived in Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar studying Taiwanese culture and music.  She gave lectures, attended many events, and spent many hours researching Taiwanese music.  A part of these efforts was devoted to studying a traditional form of Taiwanese music, Nanguan 南管.  This has been an especially "ear opening" experience.  She put her thoughts about this experience together in a short article called Nanguan Lessons.  Shih- Hui will return to the US to teach at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University in the Fall of 2011.

While at Academia Sinica 中研院 in Taiwan, Shih-Hui met award winning anthropologist and filmmaker, Hu Tai-Li 胡台麗.  Together, they collaborated on a film project titled Returning Souls 讓靈魂回家.  This film documents customs of the Aboriginal Amis 阿美 tribe and their recovery of a lost tribal icon. 

Shih-Hui also adapted the film soundtrack materials to write a solo violin piece premiered by violinist Cho-Liang Lin 林昭亮 in the fall of 2011.

In December, Shih-Hui and Kurt Stallmann collaborated to create the sound for an animated film for the annual Water and Land Dharma Ceremony (水陸法會) produced by Dharma Drum Mountain (法鼓山), a highly regarded Buddhist organization in Taiwan that is also home to three Buddhist universities. This eight day ceremony was attended by more than ten thousand people on site, and thirty thousand people online. A video showing preparations for the event can be seen here

This year Shih-Hui looks forward to two CD releases including clarinetist Jun Qian’s release of Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossoms for Clarinet and Piano on Albany, Hsin Yun Huang’s release of Shu Shon Key for Viola and Orchestra on Bridge Records.  In addition, Da Camera of Houston will release Shu Shon Key for Viola and Chamber Ensemble online, and saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky has released Twice Removed for solo alto saxophone online. You can hear Radnofsky’s recording here.

In contrast to this meditative experience, Shih-Hui was invited to be a keynote speaker at an international composers conference hosted by National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra at Taichung, where she and nearly one hundred participants endured an unexpected typhoon.  Her talk: Transformation, Bottleneck Fear inspired a long discussion on how composers face the challenges of finding a unique voice.  Shih-Hui will return to the NTSO in November to attend two performances of her viola concerto Shu Shon Key in Wufen and Tainan.  Performance information here.

Returning Souls: Four Short Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends was premiered by Cho-Liang Lin at a  Syzygy New Music concert at Rice University in Houston on 11/11/11.  A few weeks later, the documentary Returning Souls, was premiered Academia Sinica in Taiwan.  The film has subsequently been shown at seven universities, in ten indigenous tribal regions in Taiwan, and has been selected for several film festivals such as Sole Luna International Documentary Festival at Palermo (Italy), Society for Visual Anthropology Ethnographic Fim Festivial (San Francisco), and International Film Festival Jean Rouch (Paris).

In July 2012, Shih-Hui and Kurt Stallmann, were invited to make a sound track to accompany a portion of an animated film by Dharma Drum, a highly regarded Buddhist organization in Taiwan that is also home to three Buddhist universities. Together, they stayed at the Dharma Drum campus to discuss the film with organizers and to record sounds for the film.  Sitting on top of Dharma Drum mountain while overlooking Taipei city and hearing nuns and monks chanting “may all beings be free” in the background was an experience that cannot be described adequately with words.  The sound track will be premiered on December 1 at Dharma Drum’s annual ceremony, attended by more than ten thousand people. For more information about the ceremony, go here.

October will see the Boston premiere of Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossoms for Alto Saxophone and Piano, by Kenneth Radnofsky at a saxophone convention at The Boston Conservatory of Music. This will be the first premiere of twenty seven in different locations throughout the world.  The commission was sponsored by World-Wide Concurrent Premieres.  In addition, Shui, for piano and cello will be preformed at a Syzygy Centennial Concert at Rice University by the Fischer Duo, as well as in London, England by the Lontano ensemble.

Image taken from Hu Tai Li’s Returning Souls

Shih-hui with Hu Tai Li and Ami Tribe Members

Presenters at NTSO Composer’s Conference

In Philadelphia with Linda Reichert (Network New Music), Chen Shih-Hui,

Chou Wen-Chung, James Primosch, and Mrs. Chou

Photo credit  Yu Ying-Jun

A picture from Dharma Drum Mountain’s

Water and Land Dharma Ceremony