JUNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung has a unique talent for combining idiosyncratic textures and styles into large-scale works, reflecting her multicultural background. Her work often assimilates disparate influences such as non-Western folk music, Tibetan chant, Brazilian rhythms, and visual inspirations.
During the 2017-18 season, Fung’s first major work for electronics, Humanoid for solo cello and electronics, premiered in New Orleans and makes its way to Vancouver, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Ottawa, and the Bay Area. The San José Chamber Orchestra recently premiered her Baroque Melting, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra will give the Canadian premiere in April 2018. Fung’s Clarinet Quintet: Frenetic Memories, performed by clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois and the Daedalus Quartet, premiered at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to critical acclaim and soon travels to Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Chamber Music Northwest. Upcoming commissions include Earworms for Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra to be premiered March 2018; a new solo percussion work for internationally renowned percussionist Aiyun Huang, commissioned by the Banff Centre; and a new piano quartet for Ensemble Made in Canada’s Mosaïque Project.
Highlights of Fung’s numerous recent high-profile projects include her Violin Concerto No. 2, commissioned and premiered in 2015 by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and violinist Jonathan Crow; and Biennale Snapshots, which opened the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-16 season alongside Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. The 25-minute work, commissioned by the Vancouver Biennale and inspired by five artworks from the Biennale exhibition, garnered much attention: “If [violinist] Miriam Fried was what everyone was talking about when they arrived at the concert… Vivian Fung was all they talked about when they left” (Georgia Straight). Biennale Snapshots was given its US premiere by the La Jolla Symphony in May 2017.
Many distinguished artists and ensembles around the world have embraced Fung’s music as part of their core repertoire, including the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Metropolis Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta, Winnipeg New Music Festival, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, American String Quartet, Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Suwon Chorale of South Korea, and Ying Quartet, to name a few. Fung’s Glimpses for prepared piano has been championed by a diverse group of pianists, including Conor Hanick, Jenny Lin, Margaret Leng Tan, and Bryan Wagorn. Conductors with whom she has collaborated include Long Yu, Justin Brown, Mei-Ann Chen, Andrew Cyr, Rei Hotoda, Barbara Day Turner, Alexander Mickelthwate, Peter Oundjian, Edwin Outwater, Steven Schick, Gerard Schwarz, and Bramwell Tovey.
In 2012, Naxos Canadian Classics released a recording of Fung’s Violin Concerto [No.1], Piano Concerto “Dreamscapes,” and Glimpses. The Violin Concerto earned Fung the 2013 JUNO Award for “Classical Composition of the Year.” Several of Fung’s other works have also been released commercially on the Telarc, Çedille, Innova, and Signpost labels.
Fung has a deep interest in exploring cultures through travel and research. She traveled to Southwest China in 2012 to study minority music and cultures in the Yunnan province, continuing research that previously inspired Yunnan Folk Songs (2011), commissioned by Fulcrum Point New Music in Chicago with support from the MAP Fund. As a composer whose trips often inspire her music, Fung also has explored diverse cultures in North Vietnam, Spain, and Indonesia. She toured Bali in 2004, 2008, and 2010, and competed in the Bali Arts Festival as an ensemble member and composer in Gamelan Dharma Swara. She is planning a return trip to Yunnan and Southeast Asia in the 2018-19 season for further research.
Fung has received numerous awards and grants, including the 2015 Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award for achievement in new music from the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), a Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Gregory Millard Fellowship, and grants from ASCAP, BMI, American Music Center, MAP Fund, American Symphony Orchestra League, American Composers Forum, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and is currently serving a three-year term as a board member of the American Composers Forum.
Born in Edmonton, Canada, Fung began her composition studies with composer Violet Archer and received her doctorate from The Juilliard School in New York, where her mentors included David Diamond and Robert Beaser. She currently lives in California with her husband Charles Boudreau, their son Julian, and their shiba inu Mulan, and is on the faculty of Santa Clara University. For more information, please visit www.vivianfung.net.