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Born in Guangzhou in 1953, Dr. Chen Yi received her degrees from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and Columbia University in the City of New York, studying composition with Prof. Wu Zuqiang, Prof. Chou Wen-chung, and Prof. Mario Davidovsky.  She has been the Distinguished Endowed Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance since 1998. She had also served as Composer-in-Residence for the Women’s Philharmonic, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, and the Aptos Creative Arts Center in San Francisco (1993-96), and taught on the composition faculty at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (1996-98). 

Chen Yi has been a recipient of the Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001. She blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. She has composed over 150 works ranging from solo instruments and chamber groups, to chorus, and large ensembles.

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They have been recorded in over 120 commercially released CDs on various labels. Her music has reached a wide range of audiences and inspired peoples of different cultural backgrounds throughout the world. 


Prof. Chen has been appointed to Visiting Professor by many music institutes in China since 2006, and awarded 5 Honorary Doctorate degrees in America. She is a strong advocate for new music and its composers in the society in the past 3 decades. Dr. Chen has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2019. 

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