陳士惠 A citation accompanying Shih-Hui Chen’s 2007 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters states, “Among the composers of Asian descent living in the U.S.A., Shih-Hui Chen is most successful in balancing the very refined spectral traditions of the East with the polyphonic practice of Western art-music. In a seamless narrative, her beautiful music, always highly inventive and expressive, is immediately as appealing as it is demanding and memorable.” The release of 66 Times, an Albany Records CD entirely devoted to Chen’s works, was greeted with the following response from the American Music Center’s New Music Box reviewer, “It was tough choosing only one of these works to attempt to wax poetic about here, but I finally opted for the solo pipa, reveling in how it completely blurs the line between traditional Chinese music and contemporary American composition.”

Born in Taiwan, Shih-Hui Chen has lived in the United States since 1982. Since completing her doctorate degree at Boston University, Chen has received significant recognition for her work including a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Chamber Music America commission, and an American Academy in Rome Prize. Her compositions have been performed widely throughout the United States and abroad, including Korea, China, Japan, England, Germany, and Italy. Chen’s compositions have brought her into contact with many orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Utah Symphony and National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. Her chamber music has been presented by the Arditti Quartet at Tanglewood Music Center, Network for New Music, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Freon Ensemble in Rome, Italy. Chen’s work has also been the subject of analysis by scholars such as German ethnomusicologist Barbara Mittler, a specialist in contemporary Chinese music that analyzed Chen’s work for the Asian Music Journal CHIME, and also wrote Chen’s biographical entry in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Seeking a deeper understanding of her native culture and music, Chen recently spent two years in Taiwan studying indigenous and Nanguan music (2010 Fulbright Senior Scholar and 2013 Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fellowship, affiliated with the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica and the National Central Library Center for Chinese Studies.) In addition, Chen takes personal pride and satisfaction in promoting Taiwanese culture by organizing events beyond the confines of the concert hall. In 2013, she launched the U.S. tour for Returning Souls, a documentary film and concert music (in collaboration with anthropological filmmaker Taili Hu) based on the music and culture of indigenous Taiwanese tribes; the project toured several universities including Harvard, Columbia, and U.C. Berkeley. Chen is currently organizing the 2015 Common practice 21C: Classical, Contemporary, and Cross-Culture Music, bringing the Little Giant Chinese Orchestra from Taipei and composers from Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia to present a three-day festival at Rice University and Asia Society Texas Center. This festival aims 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.

Shih-Hui Chen currently serves as Associate Professor of Music at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University. Recent projects include a soundtrack for the animated film for the Water and Land Dharma Ceremony (法鼓山水陸法會 Dharma Drum Mountain); A Plea to Lady Chang’e (推忱著衣-- 南管新唱) for Chamber Orchestra and Nanguan pipa; War Songs: from Middle Kingdom to Tartars (戰詩: 漢月胡地的糾葛) for flute and guitar; Guangling San (廣陵散) for Guzheng and Chinese Orchestra; and Messages From a Paiwan Village (土板部落往返的信), a 50-minute storytelling musical drama. Her music can be heard on Albany, New World and Bridge Records.

Returning Souls / Returning Sounds

"...deep musical intelligence..." -The Wire Magazine

"a fascinating mixture of Eastern and Western elements... succeeds brilliantly in every parameter of consideration... There is no denying that Chen is a major compositional talent…”— Fanfare Magazine May/June 2014