Lecturer in Horn, Sonoma State University
by Ruth Wilson
Lecturer in Horn, Sonoma State University
Yiu-Kwong Chung is Taiwan's leading composer. Besides his wind band music, he has composed Chinese operas and numerous concertos, including Beyond the Silk Road for string quartet and orchestra, which will receive its premiere by the Kronos Quartet. Totem Pole for Wind Orchestra depicts in ear-shattering detail the violent clashes between the “civilized” world and the indigenous peoples they displace. The nine-minute work begins like a Disney animated film score that very quickly (nasty flutter-tonguing in the trombone, agitated drums) becomes a primal scream (polyrhythmic percussion, brass and wind shrieks). The highlight of the piece is the compelling rhythmic writing (Chung is a percussionist) employing the full battery of percussion with complex meters inspired by African, Mayan and aboriginal Taiwanese music. A master storyteller, Chung writes with a bold expressiveness that could come across as phony- yet it does not. It was a pleasure to hear, for example, simple unison melodies and sections of chorale writing as a direct form of expression. Conductor Lian-Chang Kuo, professor and conductor at Fu Jen Catholic University, led his charges with passionate intensity and drew from them their best playing of the day. The composer humbly accepted the accolades of appreciation from the audience. This is a name to watch for.
|Guitarist, 2005, No. 2
(Russian Guitar Magazine)
"Unforgettable Celebration of the Guitar" by Igor Rekhin
...The concerto "For Eva" by Yiu-kwong Chung, which caught audience's interest with the exotic pentatonic material in combination with the avant-garde method of musical letters. The composition wins you with its poetry, delicacy, genuineness as well as the inventiveness and difference in the use of the guitar in the musical scene...."
|La Nueva España, 31st
January, 2002 by F. Prendes Veiga (translated by Jeffery
"Guyue", Concerto for Timpani, Strings and Harp by Yiu-kwong Chung was a composition that introduced a concert with oriental themes, that explored the science and sounds of timpani of Asian music. Although with the exception of sounds and fragments, the concerto could not be considered pure oriental music. Yiu-kwong Chung, formerly a percussionist brought out the best part of his composition through the timpani. It is not usually normal to have a percussionist as a soloist. Normally the percussion family remains in the back of the orchestra. The timpanist Jeffery Prentice of the OSPA took advantage of the solo opportunity, climaxing with an impressionable cadenza in the 3rd movement. Yiu-kwong Chung's presence at the concert brought a strong reaction from the audience and the orchestra, which showed the talents of Prentice and the orchestra. It was a real pleasure for Aviles to have the opportunity to hear such a high quality premiere ...
|La Voz de Asturias, 1st
February, 2002 by Cristine Rio (translated by Jeffery Prentice)
The OSPA performed a distinct concert Friday night with a premiere by Yiu-kwong Chung. "Guyue", Concerto for Timpani, Harp and Strings. Chung's piece occupied the total first part of the concert. The work contained oriental sounds with the characteristic timpani sound. The three movements were played with conviction and interest of the strings, but the main force was provided by the soloist, Jeffery Prentice.
Jeffery Prentice was magnificent using a thousand and one techniques and resources, all perfectly at his fingertips. The interchange between the orchestra and the timpani was surprisingly interesting...
|The Japan Federation of
Composers Bulletin, January 1999, No. 145
Two Reviews of String Quartet Upon the Surging Billows, Flakes of Snow (in Japanese)
Page 1, Page 2 (in PDF format).
|The New York Times, 29th September, 1998 by Paul Griffiths
Yiu-kwong Chung's "Upon the Surging Billows, Flakes of Snow" was far more effectively written and correspondingly got a far more exciting performance from the Elsner Quartet. It was music of long stillnesses and sudden bursts of energy, compellingly developed.
|Sevenska Dagbladet, 5th
October, 1994 by Lars Hedblad (Sweden)
The opening work at the evening concert, "Bihua" (Fresco) by the Chinese composer Yiu-kwong Chung, was a large-scale, colorful piece, based on Westernized yin-yang philosophy, popular idiom and so on, all for the benefit of a "nationalistic pathos".