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Chia-Yu Hsu


"Composer Chiayu’s career has been burgeoning with a remarkable number of commissions. In April 2010, her Shan Ko was selected by the EarShot program and read by the Nashville Symphony under the baton of Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero. Of Chiayu’s Moods [for oboe and string quartet], Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun wrote, “[it] combines lyricism and mild dissonance in a taut package…the performance revealed the work's strengths."

In 2008, her Feng Nian Ji was premiered by Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under Maestro Marin Alsop’s leadership and received an honorable mention by the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. The same year, her Reverie and Pursuit received its premiere performance, commissioned and performed by Carol Jantsch, the tuba principal from the Philadelphia Orchestra and the recording was later released in 2009.In 2007, her Fantasy on Wang Bao Chuan, commissioned by Taiwan’s Evergreen Symphony orchestra, was selected for the American Composers Orchestra’s annual Underwood New Music reading. Later, Chiayu was invited to collaborate with choreographer Keith Thompson from the danceTactics, for whom she composed Pellucid Tensions.

Huan for solo harp was the winner of the Composition Contest for the 7th USA International Harp Competition in Spring 2006 and was included in the repertoire for the harp competition. Huan was introduced by Sonja Inglefield in an article in the fall 2006 issue of World Harp Congress Review. Chiayu was also invited to conduct a composer’s forum in the competition and was interviewed for the documentary, Harp Dreams, which was televised on PBS in June 2010. In August 2006, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra premiered Chiayu’s work, Hard Roads in Shu, which later received performances by the Detroit Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and Toledo Symphony.

Chiayu’s music has been premiered by the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, pianist Natalie Zhu, oboist Katherine Needleman, the ensemble eighth blackbird, Ciompi Quartet, and the Prism Quartet. Her works have been performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Zankel Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Skirball Center for Performing Arts, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Moscow Open Harp Festival, and have been broadcast on WFIU, WIRU, and WPKN Today. Her Among Gardens has been released, to critical acclaim, on pianist Natalie Zhu’s Meyer Media Records CD, “Images.”

Chiayu has received numerous awards and honors for her compositional endeavors. In 1999, her Dinkey Bird won the Maxfield Parrish composition contest and was the subject of a feature in Philadelphia Inquirer. Shui Diao Ge To, composed for the 2004 Milestones Festival, received a 2005 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award and the Sorel Organization’s 2nd International Composition Competition. She has also received the first prize in the National Taiwan Academy of Art Composition Competition, in the Charlotte Civic Orchestra Composition Competition, in the Philip Slates Memorial Composition Contest, the Prism Quartet Student Commission Award, the Renée B. Fisher Foundation Composer Award, the William Klenz Prize, the Sorel Organization’s 2nd International Composition Competition, music+culture 2009 International Competition for Composers, andthe 2010 Sorel Organization recording grant.

Born in Banciao, Taiwan, Chiayu received her Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, Master’s degree and Artist Diploma from Yale University, and Ph.D. from Duke University. She has studied at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Aspen Music Festival, Fontainebleau Schools, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Her teachers have included Jennifer Higdon, David Loeb, Roberto Sierra, Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, Anthony Kelley, Scott Lindroth, and Stephen Jaffe.

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