Qu Xiaosong

Qu Xiaosong
b. 1952, Guiyang, Guizhou province
Qu Xiaosong is one of the most avant-garde of the New Wave composers. He teaches composition at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, after returning to China from an American sojourn (1989–99). During the Cultural Revolution, Qu was sent to the mountainous countryside as a farmer for four years. He taught himself to play the violin in 1972, and a year later joined the Guiyang Beijing Opera Troupe as a violist. When the Central Conservatory reopened in 1978, Qu, along with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Tan Dun and Chen Qigang, was accepted in the composition class. While at the Conservatory, Qu studied with Du Mingxin and graduated in 1983. In 1989, at the invitation of Columbia University’s Center for US-China Arts Exchange, Qu moved to New York, where his international fame grew.
Early works, such as Mong Dong, were experiments with sound. Qu has an affinity for nature, intent on returning the concept of Chinese music to its most pristine form. His stage work, Life on a String (Ming ruo qinxian, 1998), is sung in the Sichuan dialect, because Qu appreciates the dialect’s latent musicality, similar to his native Guizhou.
His Fi [Silence] series explores the minutest sonic shades. Ji No. 4 ‘Kou’ (2001) was scored for a septet, but the volume of any performance of this work is intentionally low. Qu is a very theatrical composer, sometimes performing as vocalist and conductor himself in Europe, America and Asia.
Kouwenhoven, Frank (1995). ‘Operas by Qu Xiaosong and Guo Wenjing’. Chime 8 (Spring): 158–61.
——(1997). ‘New Chinese Operas by Qu Xiaosong, Tan Dun, and Guo Wenjing’. Chime 11/12 (Spring/Autumn): 111–22.
Saunders, Glen (1996). ‘A Chinese Composer’s Views on Greek Drama and Buddhism. Qu Xiaosong’s Opera The Death of Oedipus’. Chime 9 (Autumn): 46–56.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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