Vivian Fung (composer)

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Vivian Fung (composer)

Canadian-born Vivian Fung has distinguished herself as a composer with a powerful compositional voice, whose music often merges Western forms with non-Western influences such as Balinese and Javanese gamelan and folk songs from minority regions of China.

Born in Edmonton, Canada, Vivian Fung received her doctorate from The Juilliard School in 2002. Ms. Fung began composition studies with composer Violet Archer. Other early influences include her mentors David Diamond, Narcis Bonet, and Robert Beaser. Fung is affiliated with The Juilliard School and is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre. Several of Ms. Fung’s works have also been released commercially on the Telarc, Çedille, and Signpost labels.


New projects in the current 2012-2013 concert season include commissions for an orchestral work for Chicago Sinfonietta under Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, a new string quartet for the Banff International String Quartet Competition, a new work for piano for the International Beethoven Project in Chicago, a gamelan work, Kreasi Mekanik Mainan for Gamelan Yowana Sari at Queens College, and Gamelan Grunge for CONTACT Contemporary Music in Toronto. In September, 2012, Naxos Canadian Classics will release the world premiere recording of Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto,Piano Concerto “Dreamscapes,” and Glimpses for prepared piano, featuring Metropolis Ensemble conducted by Andrew Cyr, featuring violinist Kristin Lee and pianist Conor Hanick.

During the past season, the September, 2011, world premiere of Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto by violinist Kristin Lee and the Metropolis Ensemble in New York City was described by The Strad magazine as a work of “sinuous melodies, moto perpetuo passages, and a ferocious cadenza…reminiscent of Benjamin Britten or Colin McPhee in their Balinese mode… but it also travelled through more contemporary idioms.” Also in 2011, the Eastern Music Festival premiered Dust Devils for large orchestra, conducted by Gerard Schwarz, commissioned in celebration of the festival’s 50th anniversary. Ms. Fung was also composer in residence at the Delaware Chamber Music Festival in July, 2012, where Kristin Lee and Conor Hanick gave the world premiere of a commissioned work, Birdsong for violin and piano. The duo will give Philadelphia and New York premieres of Birdsong at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Americas Society respectively in September 2012.

As the recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship, Ms. Fung will travel to Southwest China in 2013 for ethno-musicological research to study minority music and cultures in the Yunnan province, continuing research that previously inspired Yunnan Folk Songs (2011), commissioned by Fulcrum Point New Music in Chicago with support from the MAP Fund. Following the March, 2011, world premiere, The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Yunnan Folk Songs stood out… [with] a winning rawness that went beyond exoticism.” As a composer whose travels often inspire her music, Ms. Fung has also explored diverse cultures in North Vietnam, Spain, and Bali, Indonesia. Ms. Fung toured Bali in 2010 and competed in the Bali Arts Festival as an ensemble member and composer in Gamelan Dharma Swara.

Vivian Fung‘s music has been embraced as part of the core repertoire by many distinguished artists and ensembles around the world. Pizzicato for string quartet was recorded on the Telarc label by the Ying Quartet and has remained part of their repertoire for several seasons. The Escher String Quartet also performed Pizzicato for the opening night of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2011-2012 season. Ms. Fung’s String Quartet No. 2 was commissioned by the Shanghai String Quartet for its 25th anniversary international tour in 2009-2010, including its world premiere at the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC and the Canadian premiere in Ms. Fung’s native city of Edmonton. Glimpses for prepared piano has been championed by a diverse group of pianists, including Margaret Leng Tan, Conor Hanick, Jenny Lin, Jenny Q Chai, Bryan Wagorn, and Vicky Chow. Ms. Fung’s orchestral and chamber works have also been performed by the Afiara String Quartet, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Chamber Orchestra, Music from China, and American Opera Projects, to name a few.

Ms. Fung has received numerous awards and grants, including the Simon Guggenheim Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts’ Gregory Millard Fellowship, ASCAP, BMI, American Music Center, MAP Fund, Music Alive! and the League of American Orchestras, American Composers’ Forum, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She has been composer-in-residence of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival, the Music in the Loft chamber music series in Chicago, the San José Chamber Orchestra, and the Billings Symphony. Vivian Fung also completed residencies at the MacDowell, Yaddo, and Banff arts colonies, as well as residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

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