P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Carolyn Chen, 2008

PhD, University of California, San Diego

Carolyn Chen is the child of immigrants from Taiwan

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Music Composition at University of California, San Diego

CAROLYN CHEN was born in New Jersey and lives in Los Angeles. Her parents are from Taiwan. They are naturalized US citizens and live in San Jose, California.

Carolyn has made music for supermarket, demolition district, and the dark. Her work reconfigures the everyday to retune habits of our ears €" using sound, text, light, image, and movement. Recent projects include a deconstructed scream, an opera mashup of Euripides' Hekabe and Red Riding Hood, and an assemblage on falling commissioned for the 2014 MATA Festival. Ongoing projects are for Wild Rumpus, Klangforum Wien, and the guqin, the Chinese 7-string zither traditionally played for private meditation in nature.

The work has been presented at festivals and exhibitions in 18 countries, and described by The New York Times as €œthe evening's most consistently alluring piece €¦ a quiet but lush meditation.€� Recordings are available on Perishable, the wulf., and Quakebasket; scores are in Psychiana, China Academy of Art SIMA Journal, Closet Music Works, edited by Janet Oates, and A Small Book of Rounds, edited by Larry Polansky. Carolyn earned a Ph.D. in music from UC San Diego, and a M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature and B.A. in music from Stanford University, with an honors thesis on Free Improvisation and Radical Politics.

  • PhD Music Composition | University of California, San Diego 2014
  • MA Music Composition | University of California, San Diego 2008
  • BA Music | Stanford University 2006
  • MA Modern Thought & Literature | Stanford University 2006
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