NEC presents composer Chou Wen-chung with an Honorary Doctorate

At his home in New York, composer Chou Wen-chung was presented with an honorary doctorate by NEC President Andrea Kalyn.

Chou Wen-chung holding his honorary degree
Photo: Fadi Kheir
Chou wen-chung and Andrea Kalyn sharing tea, banner crop
Chou Wen-chung and Andrea Kalyn

Esteemed composer Chou Wen-chung, known for his works that synthesize Western composition with traditional Chinese music, was presented with an honorary doctorate by NEC President Andrea Kalyn at his home in New York on February 27, 2019. Professor Chou studied at NEC for three years under composer Nicholas Slonimsky.

NEC faculty Donald Palma nominated Chou for the honorary doctorate:

Donald Palma and Chou wen-chung laughing and smiling over tea
Donald Palma and Chou Wen-chung

"Chou Wen-chung has been a friend and colleague for decades. Having discovered his subtly beautiful compositions years ago, I was privileged, over time, to perform and record some of his masterpieces.  In the process, I had the opportunity to know personally this generous and deeply cultured man. His music is a synthesis of the most progressive Western compositional idioms, with a traditional heritage of Asian approaches, not only from music, but also from calligraphy, painting, poetry and his own interactions with the dramatic landscape of China.

Chou studied at NEC for three years with Nicholas Slonimsky and later became a student and protégé of Edgard Varese in New York, editing his works, supervising recordings and maintaining the Varèse archives. Through his founding of the U.S-China Arts Exchange and his teaching at Columbia University, Chou, almost single-handedly, changed our contemporary musical landscape by bringing many talented young voices from China. Bright Sheng, Zhou Long, Tan Dun, Chen Yi and numerous others were all students in his composition studio at Columbia.

I am very pleased to be honoring this important and influential artist, Chou Wen-chung in his 95th year."

NEC will also be joined by Prof. Chou's son, Sumin Chou, during First Monday at Jordan Hall: Exploring Cultures of the World—Chinese on March 4th to formally accept his father's honorary degree and read a statement from his father.


Photos by Fadi Kheir

Learn more about Chou Wen-chung

Back to NEC News