First Advisor

Zukiewicz, Adam

First Committee Member

Bellman, Jonathan

Second Committee Member

Oravitz, Michael

Third Committee Member

Wanasika, Isaac

Document Type


Date Created



Embarking on a melodic journey that intertwines the elegance of Western piano and the profound resonance of the traditional Chinese orchestra, this dissertation illuminates the intricate musical tapestry crafted by Chinese composers in the domain of piano concertos. Starting with Wen-yeh Chiang’s Piano Concerto, Op. 16, in 1936 and spanning the remarkable growth to an estimated 160 piano concerti by 2021, a particular subset of this extensive repertoire stands out. This subset consists of 16 concertos for piano and traditional Chinese orchestra, showcasing a captivating fusion of Eastern and Western musical elements. This research emphasizes the harmonious melding of Eastern and Western musical elements, focusing most closely on two works for piano and traditional Chinese orchestra, with further reference to fifteen more works for the same forces. The analyses of Lei Liang’s Tremors of a Memory Chord for Piano and Grand Chinese Orchestra (2011) and Yiu-kwong Chung’s Red Cliffs for Chinese Orchestra (2016) not only explore their respective compositional methodologies but also highlight the inherent cultural confluence and boundless potential of this genre. Through Liang’s multifaceted dialogue of Chinese and Western tonalities and Chung’s adept intertwining of diverse musical traditions and modalities, the dissertation reveals the nuanced integration of Western instrument piano with traditional Chinese instruments. Meticulously dissecting the selected compositions, this research endeavors to furnish musicians, especially those unacquainted with the synthesis of non-traditional and Chinese genres, with a panoramic understanding of this hybrid musical realm. Engaging comprehensively with compositional techniques, performance practice concerns, and the developmental trajectories of works for solo piano that incorporate traditional Chinese orchestras. The study aims to elevate awareness and interest among pianists, performers, and composers alike. It aspires to inspire future composers and serve as a conduit for performers navigating these melodic syntheses while simultaneously celebrating and promulgating China’s millennia of cultural and musical heritage.

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161 pages

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