Guo Wenjing

Guo Wenjing
b. 1956, Chongqing, Sichuan
Guo Wenjing, a member of the musical ‘New Wave’ that has risen to prominence since the 1980s (see Third Generation /composers), remains in Beijing and teaches composition at the Central Conservatory of Music. At age twelve, Guo learned to play the violin. Between 1970 and 1977, he was a member of the Chongqing Song and Dance Troupe, coming into close contact with the folk music of Sichuan. Guo belongs to the first group of students admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music when it reopened in 1978. His musical language is personal and rooted, consciously employing or avoiding European idioms. Guo’s music can be visceral and energetic, remaining close to primal ritual functions.
With a prolific output that is performed world-wide, Guo differs from the rest of his classmates who emigrated (Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Chen Qigang, Tan Dun) after China opened its doors in the 1980s. Remaining in Beijing gives Guo access to the depth and range of Chinese contemporary culture and the best performers on traditional instruments. Guo’s two chamber operas, Wolf Cub Village (1994), based on Lu Xun’s novella Diary of a Madman (Kuangren riji), and Night Banquet (Yeyan, 1998), have been performed at major European and American festivals. Along with chamber and symphonic (both Western and Chinese orchestral) works and film music, Guo’s work incorporates vocal styles and musical gestures from regional operas and folk idioms. Buddhist Temple (Shanyuan, 2002) is written for forty Chinese, Western and Middle-Eastern instruments.
Kouwenhoven, Frank and Shimmelpenninck, A. (1997). ‘Guo Wenjing, A Composer’s Portrait: “The Strings Going Hong Hong Hong and the Percussion Bong Kèèh—That’s My Voice!”’ Chime 10/11 (Spring/Autumn): 8–49.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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