of Composition and Theory
Diploma (1982), National Academy for the Arts
M.M. (1985), Northern Illinois University
D. M. A. (1993) Boston University
The citation accompanying Shih-Hui Chen's 2007 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters states, "among the composers of Asian descent living in the USA, Shih-Hui Chen is most successful in balancing the very refined spectral traditions of the East with the polyphonic practice of Western art-music. In a seamless narrative, her beautiful music, always highly inventive and expressive, is immediately as appealing as it is demanding and memorable."
A native of Taiwan, Shih-Hui Chen has lived in the United States since 1982. After completing her doctorate degree at Boston University, Chen’s work has received significant recognition including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Academy in Rome Prize. Commissions have come from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Chamber Music America, Meet The Composer, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Barlow Foundation. Her orchestral compositions have been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and Utah Symphony. Her chamber music has been presented by the Arditti Quartet, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Seattle Chamber Players, Ensemble Instrumental Appassionata (Quebec, Canada), and the Freon Ensemble (Rome, Italy). Chen’s work has also been the subject of analysis by scholars such as German ethnomusicologist Barbara Mittler who analyzed Chen’s work for the Asian Music Journal CHIME and also wrote an entry about her in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Chen serves on the faculty at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University. Recent performances include Mei Hua for String Quartet by the Formosa Quartet at Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, and throughout the UK; Fu II by eighth blackbird with Yang Wei and Cliff Colnot on the Contempo Series at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; Returnings by Dinosaur Annex in Boston, ... becoming... a mini-flute concerto by Carol Wincenc at the Juilliard School; and Our Names by Network for New Music in Philadelphia. In 2010, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant to live in Taiwan for a year to research Taiwanese Aboriginal music and Nanguan music at Taiwan National University and Academia Sinica. While there, she met anthropologist and filmmaker, Hu Tai-Li. Together, they collaborated on a film project, Bring the Souls Back Home, that documents customs of the Aboriginal Amis Tribe and their recovery of a lost tribal icon. Chen adapted materials from the film soundtrack for use in a new solo violin piece for Cho-Liang Lin.