As a resident composer at the MacDowell Colony, Wenhui Xie‘s music has been aired as part of “Composer of the Week” on BBC Radio 3, and has been performed throughout China, the United States and Europe by performers including the China National Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, the NODUS Ensemble in the United States, the Orkest de Ereprijs in the Netherlands, the Accademia Chigiana Ensemble in Italy, and the Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra in Serbia. Wenhui is currently an Associate Professor of Composition at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

Her new work for solo double bass, Étude, will be premiered by Kate Alexandra on our final CSB concert, Cincinnati Soundbox: Cincinnati – Beijing. Join us on June 23 at the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati!

CSB: What is your musical background?

WHX: I am both a composer and pianist. I received my Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and before that, a Master of Music from the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing. My principal composition teachers throughout my studies included Joel Hoffman, Allen Otte, Michael Fiday, Mara Helmuth and Wanchun Shi.

CSB: How was your time in Cincinnati formative in your development as a composer?

WHX: Cincinnati is my second hometown. I miss all of my friends in Cincinnati, and the time I spent studying at CCM left a big impression on me as an artist. Because of the scholarships and travel funding I received while I was a doctoral student at CCM in 2007-2011, I was able to make connections with musicians and artists all over the world. The open-minded performers and audience members I encountered then continue to inspire me to create music as a composer.

CSB: Could you share some of the projects you have taken on as a composer since leaving Cincinnati?

WHX: My recent commissions have included works for symphony orchestra, Chinese traditional orchestra, mixed chamber ensembles, and soloists. Since 2015, I have focused on composing five orchestral works, which have been premiered and preformed in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, as well as Belgrade, Serbia.

CSB: Could you tell us about the work on this concert? What was the compositional process for it like?

WHX: It is a solo double bass work, which is named Étude. The inspiration for this piece is taken from my two kids. They wanted to improve their aural skills by listening to a work which used few pitches in a lower register, so I decided to write one for them. It will be a world premiere on this concert, and I hope you enjoy it.

CSB: What upcoming projects are on your radar?

WHX: Upcoming projects include a chamber orchestra work with cimbalom that will be performed in October, and an orchestral work and new duo for November 2019. They will all be premiered in Beijing.