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Carolyn Chen

b. 1983

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Carolyn Chen has made music for supermarket, demolition district, and the dark. Her work reconfigures the everyday to retune habits of our ears through sound, text, light, and movement. Her studies of the guqin, a Chinese zither traditionally played for private meditation in nature, have informed her thinking on listening in social spaces. Recent projects include an audio essay on a scream and commissions for Klangforum Wien and the LA Phil New Music Group.

Described by The New York Times as “the evening’s most consistently alluring … a quiet but lush meditation,” Chen’s work has been supported by the American Academy in Berlin, the Fulbright Program, ASCAP Foundation’s Fred Ho Award, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, Stanford University Sudler Prize, and commissions from Green Umbrella, MATA Festival, and impuls Festival. The work has been presented at festivals and exhibitions in 25 countries, at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kitchen, Disney Hall (Los Angeles), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Guggenheim Bilbao, and the Institute for Provocation (Beijing). She has been fortunate to work with ensembles including SurPlus, Southland, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Aperture, andPlay, loadbang, koan, Dog Star Orchestra, The Reader’s Chorus, Pamplemousse, Chamber Cartel, orkest de ereprijs, S.E.M., red fish blue fish, Wild Rumpus, and The Syndicate for New Arts.

Writing and recordings are available in MusikTexte, Experimental Music Yearbook, The New Centennial Review, Leonardo Music Journal, Perishable, the wulf, and Quakebasket. Chen earned a Ph.D. in music from UC San Diego, and a M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature and B.A. in music from Stanford University, with an honors thesis on free improvisation and radical politics. She lives in Los Angeles.

Biography taken from composer’s website.
Photo: Annette Hornischer

Oceans in Oceans | 2014 | 12 mins

Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, French Horn, Trombone, Percussion, Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass

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