The music of Chen Zhangyi has been described by The Straits Times as “a breath of fresh air on our musical landscape.” He has collaborated with ensembles such as London Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Lyric Opera, re: mix, and Hong Kong New Music Ensemble.
At Abbey Road Studios, Eric Whitacre led the London Symphony and Eric Whitacre Singers, recording Zhangyi’s award-winning Ariadne’s Love. Broadcasted on BBC Radio 3, it was dubbed “music from a choral voice of the future.” His dramatic works Window Shopping, Laksa Cantata, and Pursuant passionately reveal his exploration of vernacular themes. He is also drawn to nature as a source of inspiration, as shown in orchestral works such as Rain Tree, Sand Sketches, and most recently, Vanda – a violin concerto commissioned by the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.
He read music at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore and Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University. His composition mentors include Kevin Puts, Thomas Benjamin, Michael Hersch and Peter Edwards. In 2014, Zhangyi was awarded both the Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence (NUS), and the Young Artist Award by The National Arts Council.
Zhangyi taught music at Peabody Institute and Baltimore City Community College, and is currently a lecturer at Yong Siew Conservatory of Music. He has also conducted premieres of new works, and performed on violin (and viola) with the Charm City Baroque (2012-15) and Baltimore Baroque Band (2009-2015).
In his free time, Zhangyi enjoys traveling and good food.