Dissertation Index

Author: Kwan, Kenneth

Title: Compositional Design in Recent Works of Chou Wen Chung

Institution: SUNY Buffalo

Begun: November 1993

Completed: September 1995


Chou Wen-Chung was the first Asian composer recognized by the Western musical world. Most existing literature on Chou deals only with his works up to the 1970s, when he went into a creative hiatus which ended in 1985. My dissertation will address the works produced since he began composing again: "Beijing in the Mist" (1985), "Echoes from the Gorge" (1989), "Windswept Peaks" (1990), and the Cello Concerto (1992). I will attempt to show that these four works form a microcosm that envelops Chou's earlier outputs--"Beijing" is a throwback to his earlier pentatonic period while the other three pieces follow the line of design that makes use of the principles in the I-Ching to create a musical methodology/structure. The process with which he attempts a "re-merger" of the musics of the East and the West is one of transformation, rather than imitation, a process that finds its way into the music of his students, who will no doubt bear out Chou's influence on contemporary Western music beyond the reach of Chou's own compositions.

Keywords: Asian, East, West, Chou, I-Ching, re-merger


Ch 1, Introduction; Ch 2, Chou Wen Chung's Modal System; Ch 3, "Beijing in the Mist"; Ch 4, "Echoes from the Gorge"; Ch 5, "Windswept Peaks"; Ch 6, Cello Concerto; Ch 7, East versus West; Ch 8, I-Ching and Meaning in Music; Ch 9, Conclusion


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