In works of various dimensions, Yao Chen seeks paths toward transcendence. His music, always ritual in nature, eschews contemporary vogues and instead aims at a timelessness and an otherness that exists beyond the standard categories – music for the moment, but also music for then and music for what lies ahead. Whether his work is brittle or forceful, or often both in coexistence, melancholy and a sense of wonder are recurring characteristics, as is an internationalist orientation grounded in a quest for maximal musical meaning. His perceptions on musical time, timbre, intonation, pulsation, and expression are always at frontiers: between the old and the new, between the East and the West, between irrational mysticism and rational logic. While devoting himself mainly to the field of contemporary art music, Yao also experiments with other genres, writing music for films and theatre productions. Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary concepts permeate his creative inspiration and compositional output, presenting his understanding of the value of new music in enlivening global cultures.
In recent years, his music has received a significant amount of recognition in many distinguished international arenas. His music has been performed by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (Grammy winner), Orchestre National de Lorraine, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, China Philharmonic, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Pacifica String Quartet (Grammy Winner), Quatuor Diotima, eighth blackbird (Grammy winner), etc.
He has also received commissions, awards and fellowships from many prestigious organizations such as the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Mellon Collaborative Fellowship for Arts Practice and Scholarship at University of Chicago, New Music USA, Radio France (Festival Presence and Alla Breve), ASCAP, Barnett Family Foundation Flute Competition, Leonard Bernstein Fund, Art Institute of Chicago & Silk Road Chicago Project,
Additional details on Yao Chen's work found here.