BMus, MMus (Mich), DM (Indiana)
Described as “evocative and kaleidoscopic” (Seattle Times) the music of composer Dorothy Chang often reflects the eclectic mix of musical influences from her youth, ranging from popular and folk music to elements of traditional Chinese music. Many of her works are inspired by place, time, memory and personal histories.
Dorothy’s catalog includes over seventy works for solo, chamber and large ensembles as well as collaborations involving theatre, dance and video. Her interest in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration has led to projects including a radio play adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s White Wines for four vocalists and speaking percussionist; Flying White (飞白) for mixed Chinese and Western ensemble with Wen Wei Dance; Shelter, a collaboration with harpist Janelle Nadeau and filmmaker Sean Shaul; and more recently, Precipice, a work commissioned by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra that reflects on the catastrophic effects of climate change.
Dorothy’s music has been featured in concerts and festivals across North America and abroad, with performances by the Albany, Calgary Philharmonic, Indianapolis, Manitoba Chamber, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Queens, Saint Paul Chamber, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Victoria Symphony Orchestras, and by chamber ensembles including eighth blackbird, the Emily Carr String Quartet, the Smith Quartet, the Chicago Saxophone Quartet, Chai Found Music Workshop (Taiwan), Collage New Music, Land’s End Ensemble, Music from China, the Orchid Ensemble, Soundstreams, the Sound of Dragon Ensemble, Standing Wave, Turning Point Ensemble, and the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, among others.
She has received awards and grants from organizations including ASCAP, the Barlow Endowment, British Columbia Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Fromm Music Foundation, the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the Women’s Philharmonic Commissioning Project of Meet the Composer. From 2005-08, Dorothy served as composer-in-residence with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. In 2022 she was a nominee for a JUNO Award, and winner of the Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Composer of the Year.
In 2003, Dorothy joined the music faculty at the University of British Columbia, where she is currently a Professor of Music. www.dorothychang.com
WATCH: PEP (Piano & Erhu Project) performs Dorothy Chang’s “Four Short Poems.” With Nicole Li (erhu) and Corey Hamm (piano).
Awards and honours that Dorothy has received include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the International Alliance for Women in Music, Mu Phi Epsilon, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Meet the Composer and the Jacob Druckman Orchestra Prize from the Aspen Music Festival. She has received commissions from the Canada Council of the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the Barlow Endowment, Chamber Music America, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. For the 2003-04 and 2005-08 seasons, Dorothy held a Music Alive composer residency with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 she was awarded the inaugural commission from the Women’s Philharmonic Commissioning Project of Meet the Composer for a new orchestral work, Strange Air, which was premiered at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music by Marin Alsop and the festival orchestra.
Dorothy received degrees in composition from the University of Michigan (B.M., M.M.) and the Indiana University School of Music (D.M). Since 2003 she has served as a Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia. Upcoming projects include a new double concerto for erhu and piano, which will be premiered in April 2018 by the Piano-Erhu Project and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.