Maestro Tyzen Hsiao commemorative exhibition opens in Taipei

02/24/2020 07:40 PM
Stephen Hsiao (蕭傑文, second right) and National Center for Traditional Arts director Chen Chi-ming (陳濟民, center)
Stephen Hsiao (蕭傑文, second right) and National Center for Traditional Arts director Chen Chi-ming (陳濟民, center)

Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) An exhibition dedicated to the memory of the late Taiwanese composer Tyzen Hsiao (蕭泰然, 1938-2015) opened in Taipei Monday, detailing his legacy and showcasing his personal items.

The "Vagabond Homecoming -- A Memory Exhibition of Taiwan Composer Tyzen Hsiao" opened that day with over 150 items on loan from Hsiao's family at the city's Taiwan Music Institute

Divided into various sections the exhibition details Hsiao's life, his relationship with his family and friends, his faith, his musical works and awards.

A composer of the neo-romantic school, Hsiao won international acclaim for his Taiwanese folk song elements and his rich tonal style, which earned him an international reputation as "Taiwan's Rachmaninoff."

Among Hsiao's compositions that appear frequently in concerts featuring Taiwanese composers are Ode to Yu Shan; Formosa Symphony, opus 49; 1947 Overture for soprano, chorus and orchestra; Violin Concerto in D, opus 50; Cello Concerto in C, opus 52; and Piano Concerto in C minor, opus 53.

Among his numerous awards, Hsiao was given the National Award for Arts and Composers at the Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music in 2004. He received an honorary doctorate from California Graduate School of Ministries in 2008 and was presented with a National Cultural Award and Outstanding Alumni Award from National Taiwan Normal University in 2009.

In 2010, he received another honorary doctorate from National Taitung University and was nominated for Best Composer Award the Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music that same year. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Melody Awards in 2011.

Born in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan in 1938, Hsiao was a music major at National Taiwan Normal University (then called Taiwan Provincial Normal Institute) from 1959 to 1963. He studied at Musashino Academia Musicae in Japan in 1963, shifting his focus from piano performance to composition before returning to Taiwan in 1967.

In 1977, he and his family resettled in the United States and over the next 18 years, he composed some of his most famous pieces for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and orchestras.

Hsiao returned to Taiwan in 1995. His famous 1947 Overture was composed and premiered in 1995, and Ode to Yushan in 1999. After suffering a stroke in 2002, he moved back to Los Angeles and he died in 2015 of lung cancer at the age of 77.

Stephen Hsiao (蕭傑文), his second son and an architect by profession, said that his father's music has touched many people.

Stephen Hsiao (蕭傑文, front right)
Stephen Hsiao (蕭傑文, front right)

"Even foreigners have felt the powerful passion of his music because he dug deep in the roots of our soil and blood of being part of Taiwan," he said.

He told CNA that his family is currently in the process of archiving his father's possessions with the possibility of donating them to Taiwan

"That's something Dad would do, because his music belongs to the people, not the family. We are just archivers, that's all," he said.

However, the donation will only happen when Taiwan is independent, he said.

The exhibition will be held until Aug. 30.

(By William Yen)

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