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Huang Ruo's "Three Pieces for Orchestra" Chosen for Performance with Philadelphia Orchestra on October 6 and 7, for Centennial Composition Competition

Story and Photographs by Michael Chipman


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Press Release on Winners

About the Competition

Con Portrait: Huang Ruo

Listening Room: Huang Ruo

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Five World Premieres

The Philadelphia Orchestra has selected "Three Pieces for Orchestra," a composition by Huang Ruo, a senior Chinese-born American composer, as one of three finalists in The Philadelphia Orchestra's Centennial Composition Competition whose stated purpose is "to identify and support works that will have appeal across the musical spectrum -- works that critics will want to review, orchestras will want to perform and audiences will want to hear." Ruo's piece was selected from a pool of 330 submitted compositions.

In the final concert slated for Thursday, October 5, 2000, the Philadelphia Orchestra will perform all three finalists' pieces, under the baton of music director Wolfgang Sawallisch. The three composers' works will be voted on by orchestra and audience, and the winner will be announced at the end of the concert. The two runners-up will each receive $2,500; the winner will receive $10,000 plus two subscription performances in Philadelphia on October 6 and 7, and a performance in New York's Carnegie Hall on October 10.

"We are thrilled with the three chosen works, and we are looking forward very much to hearing them played by the Orchestra in concert," says Simon Woods, artistic administrator of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

"It is very exciting to have my work played by the Philadelphia Orchestra," says Huang. "This year the Philadelphia Orchestra is celebrating its 100th anniversary so they are performing mostly contemporary works for the season. This competition is part of that celebration -- to support the younger generation of composers by bringing their music to the audience. It is a great opportunity for us in the younger generation."

Huang says the opportunity also presents a challenge. "There are only two rehearsals for all three finalists' pieces," he says. "In that situation, you just have to get the best you can from limited rehearsal time. That is very challenging, but it is the best part about making music: you never know what will turn out. That is the fun part of live performance."

Huang's piece, "Three Pieces for Orchestra" has three movements: Prelude, Announcement and Fanfare. "All three movements are an opening," says Huang. "'Prelude' introduces the colors of the instruments and gives the audience an idea of the piece. 'Announcement' is a statement and is perhaps more serious, with more details in the process. It is more about the group working together. 'Fanfare' is last. Since this is the opening of a new century I wanted to put a fanfare at the end to open up the way for other pieces in the new century. They are all three different openings and could be played individually or together."

Among Huang's accomplishments:

  • Huang's music has been performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble and the University of Michigan Contemporary Directions Ensemble.
  • His work "Being…"will be released on the AUR label on volume IV of a total of seven CDs entitled "America's Millennium Tribute to Adolphe Sax." Performers on Huang's "Being…" include double-degree junior David Reminick (alto sax) and double-degree junior Wendy Richman (viola).
  • Huang has had works published by Sentinel Dome Publishing and in Musical Works magazine, and his book "Selection of Classic Chinese Folk Songs" was published by the Zong Shan University Press.
  • He recently released a CD recording of nine original works written from 1991-1999. (see Listening Room Feature)
  • He won the Grand Prize in Composition, VI Level Award at the European International Competition for Composers, held in Ragusa-Ilba, Italy.
  • A CD recording of "If To Live, To..." by Ruo, performed by Oberlin alumnus Alexander Waterman '98, was featured in the March, 1998, issue of Layers Magazine.
  • "SI WAY - - - Four Dimensions" received its Canadian premiere in November, 1998, at the Forum 98 Festival in Montreal, Canada.
  • In his native China, Ruo's work has been broadcast on Chinese television and featured on numerous occasions at the annual Spring Festival of Shanghai.
  • His work has been spotlighted on Radio-Canada and Radio-Shanghai, honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and presented at noted conferences and symposiums in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Aspen, Tempe and Cleveland.
  • In Switzerland, he was awarded the 1995 Henry Mancini Award at the prestigious International Film and Music Festival.
  • His new compositions are frequently performed by students and ensembles of Oberlin Conservatory.

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