Ge Gan-ru, born in 1954 in Shanghai, has been called China’s first avant-garde composer. He received degrees in both violin and composition at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In 1982, when China was still unfamiliar with 20th century Western music, he wrote politically controversial works including Yi Feng for solo cello without accompaniment in which he used unorthodox extended techniques to produce timbres simulating Chinese percussive instruments. In 1983, he was awarded a fellowship to attend Columbia University where he completed his doctoral degree.Ge Gan-ru has composed music for theater, dance and documentary and feature films as well as concert music. The New York Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, BBC Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Kronos Quartet, and many other ensembles have commissioned and performed his works. Ge Gan-ru is a Board Director of Meet the Composer.
Ge Gan-ru’s music reflects his deep interest in amalgamating Eastern and Western musical aesthetics. He writes, “While in Western music, composers are connected with the relationships between pitches, in Chinese music what is important is the particular pitch and its microtonal and timbral character. I try to combine contemporary Western compositional techniques with my Chinese experience and Chinese musical characteristics to create a universal music world.”
Margaret Leng Tan: Sonic Encounters (mode 15)