Composer Tyzen Hsiao was awarded Taiwan's 28th National Cultural Award yesterday by the Executive Yuan. The composer, who now resides in Los Angeles, has made a trip back to Taiwan to receive the award. An article by Luis Yu provides more welcome news: Hsiao's life will soon be the subject of a new documentary.
Hsiao's music features exquisitely lyrical melodies threaded through lush, almost decadent harmonies. Taiwanese folk music, Presbyterian hymnody and the art music of at least a dozen countries have been absorbed by the composer to create an expressive voice that is uniquely his.
Any return by Hsiao to Taiwan is the occasion of a number of celebratory performances. Conductor Apo Ching-Hsin Hsu conducted musicians from NTNU at the awards ceremony on Wednesday. Earlier this evening (Thursday) I attended a fine chamber music concert at NTNU. A highlight was the poetic piano artistry of Lina Yeh, who has been closely associated with Hsiao's music for a number of years. Tomorrow, January 9 Friday night 18:00 (6:00 pm), a concert of Hsiao's art songs will be presented in Guandu. The composer will be present. If you've never met this man, rest assured: he radiates good energy, just like his music. I encourage you to catch the performance if you can.