Music Kneads《筝材食疗 音与食通》

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written for Yvonne Tay, guzheng soloist of Ding Yi Music Company, to be performed while a chef prepares and cooks (lā miàn). The instrumentation of eastern and western instruments represents the four categories of - wind, strings, plucked, and percussive musical instruments. The connection to the culinary preparation of (lā miàn) and the interaction with the master chef of the restaurant 800 BOWLS ( ) threaded together the dramatic gestures of the noodle making, with the creation of the musical texture and flow.





The three main phases of the lamian making process are 1. shuǎi miàn - throwing of the dough 2. yóu tiáo - spirals 3. lā miàn - pulling of the noodle

甩面 油条 拉面

Nature is often a source of inspiration in Zhangyi's music. For instance, in orchestral works like Rain Tree, Vanda (violin concerto), and Of An Ethereal Symphony commissioned by SSO for their Europe tour in 2016. Water, a choral setting of KTM Iqbal’s poem, was recorded on SSCC's album - And I’ll Sing Once More. The theme of nature also permeates keyboard works such as Walks on Water (a chamber work featuring the piano), and Clima a solo piano work written to raise awareness of climate change. In collaboration with librettist Sara Florian, the operas Arianna on Another Island (a Children's opera, TOP), and Kampung Spirit (SLO) also touch on the theme of nature and climate change.

ABOUT THE COMPOSER The music of Chen Zhangyi has been described by Straits Times as “a breath of fresh air on our musical landscape” and by BBC Radio 3 as “music from a voice of the future.” His collaborators include ensembles such as London Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), Singapore National Youth Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Children's Choir (SSCC), Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO), L'arietta, The Opera People (TOP), Ensemble Ripieno (PH), and re: mix.

The musical representation of Singaporean culture is also a recurring theme within Zhangyi's music. For instance, Laksa Cantata, Window Shopping, and Kopi For One, forms A Singapore Trilogy (libretto by Jack Lin) that is inspired by the Singaporean obsessions of food, shopping and coffee. Other themes within his opera output also include COVID19 social distancing - in the a cappella opera Panic Love with librettist Felix Cheong, as well as music and dementia through A Day, A Lily, a docu-opera created in collaboration with librettist Jack Lin, soprano Dr. Wong Su Sun, and director Lim Ziyu.

Creatively researching musical syncretism within an East-Asian and South-East-Asian contexts, the (Triple) Concerto for Erhu, Ruan, Percussion and Ensemble was written for the YST Conservatory Orchestra for its tour to Seoul in 2019, led by conductor Jason Lai, featuring soloists Likie Low (erhu), Sulwyn Lok (zhongruan), and Yuru Lee (paigu and marimba). Through his research of the eclecticism present in Leong Yoon Pin and Edwin Thumboo's Bunga Mawar, Zhangyi also pays homage to Leong's 'Nanyang Style' through Kampung Spirit, in what he terms a 'New Nanyang Style'.


Zhangyi was conferred the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council (Singapore) in 2014, culminating in the studio recordings of A Singapore Trilogy, available on most streaming networks. His work Ariadne's Love was one of the winning works of the Abbey Road Studios Anthem Competition, recorded by London Symphony and Eric Whitacre Singers. He is also an educator and serves as Assistant Professor at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, where he teaches analysis, composition, and led the new music ensemble OpusNovus from 2016-18. Zhangyi also plays the viola with Red Dot Baroque.

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