Chihchun Chi-sun Lee 李志純 치천 지선 리 

About the Piece

Instrumentation: String Orchestra
Duration: ~4 min

Program Note from the composer:

The Taiwan Balladry Series IV—Hakka Balladry II “miˇ nungˇ sanˊ goˊ” is inspired by Taiwanese Hakka Balladries (美濃四大調:正月牌、送郞、大埔調、半山謠及美濃調) from miˇ nungˇ district, a Hakka village in the south of Taiwan. Miˇ nungˇ Hakka people has developed their own music styles and languages, that includes significant amount of ornamentations and some large dissonant skips (7ths, 9ths). Moreover, “miˇ nungˇ sanˊ goˊ” incorporates with American Bluegrass and Jazz string techniques: chop, scrapes and ghost notes; metal violin (imitates electric guitar); as well as some asymmetrical rhythmic grouping (3+2+3 in 4/4 and 2+3+2+3 in 5/4).

This work is the fourth movement of the Taiwan Balladry Series, which can be performed independently as a stand-along work, or as a set of four movements in total (~15 minutes)

Conductor’s Perspective

Composer Chihchun Lee wrote this piece for youth orchestras as a way of introducing modern writing and extended techniques. Each of the movement focuses on one type of techniques and is a great first exposure to younger musicians. They are also really short and varies in style, and are great to be performed as an independent work (for under 5 minutes), or to be performed as a set.

About the Composer

Taiwanese-American composer Chihchun Chi-sun Lee, winner of the 1st Biennial Brandenburg Symphony International Composition Competition in Germany and the 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, was educated in both Taiwan and United States.  She received a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan, two masters’ degrees from Ohio University, and a bachelor’s degree from Soochow University in Taiwan. Her teachers included William Albright, William Bolcom, Yen Lu, Mark Phillips, Bright Sheng, Loong-Hsing Wen and Yann-Jong Hwang. In 2009, she became only the fourth women in history to receive the nomination of “best composer” from the Golden Melody Awards (Taiwan’s version of the Grammys) for her debut CD “Elegance”.  Ms. Lee served as the composer-in-residence with Chai Found Music Workshop in 2009-2011, funded by the Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation.  In 2017, Ms. Lee is honored with Achievement in Music Award in recognition of outstanding contribution to music by Ohio University at its 100th Anniversary.    

She has received numerous honors; these include the Harvard Fromm Music Foundation commission, Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation commissions, Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) commission, National Orchestra of Korea (NOK) commissions, Theodore Front Prize from International Alliance for Women in Music, ARKO Contemporary Orchestra Music Festival Composition Awards, Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, among others. 

Some of her most significant performances have included her Concerto for Zheng in Carnegie Hall, a concert dedicated to her music in Taiwan National Concert Hall and at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, Muzički Biennale Zagreb, Tage Für Aktuelle Musik, ISCM-Musicarama, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Daegu International Contemporary Music Festival and Shanghai New Music Week.  In addition, her music has had numerous performances and broadcasts worldwide in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Vietnam, China (& Hong Kong), and around the continental United States (& Hawaii). She has previously taught at Johnson County Community College, Washburn University, Rhodes College, and the University of South Florida.  Her works appear on CDs from the SONY, Albany, Capstone, ERMedia’s Masterworks (Naxos), Ravello Records/PARMA, NACUSA, Celebrity Music Pte. Ltd. in Singapore, Himalaya Record Co. Ltd,  ACL-Taiwan, ISCM-Taiwan and Glorious Pantheons Production in Taiwan.  Publications related to Lee’s music can be found in 20th Century Asian Composers’ BiographiesWorld Music: Traditions and Transformations, Advanced Techniques of Piri, Taiwanese contemporary music composers’ interview for Chinese traditional instruments (1970-2011), The Development of Taiwan’s New Music Composition after 60’s in the 20th Century and Forum of Current Zheng Music Education Practical Affairs in Taiwan.  She is fluent in composing for all instrumental and vocal medium and also has done significant work with indigenous instrument groups, such as Chai Found Music Workshop, Music From China (NYC), the Taiwan National Chinese Orchestra, the Taipei Chinese traditional orchestra, Little Giant Chinese Orchestra and other Chinese instrumentalists, including zheng virtuoso, Haiqiong Deng.  

Read more on her website:

Performance Materials

● For score and parts rental: Contact the Composer

● Perusal Score sample (please contact the composer for a full score perusal)


World Premiere on YouTube by the MoonString String Orchestra conducted by Dr. HanMing Eric Huang