Counterstream Radio
New Music Streaming 24/7
New Music Playlists
Browse Music, Video, Interviews and more.
profile image

Vivian Fung

San Jose, CA         

JUNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung has a talent for combining idiosyncratic textures and styles into large-scale works, reflecting her multicultural background. Her works often assimilates seemingly disparate influences such as non-Western folk music, Brazilian rhythms, and visual inspirations.

Fung has enjoyed numerous high-profile projects in recent years as her music has continued to move in new directions. Her Violin Concerto No. 2 was commissioned and premiered in February 2015 by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Jonathan Crow, violin. Most recently, her Biennale Snapshots 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, Sept. 28, 2015).

Among Fung’s upcoming commissions include a new fanfare for the Toronto Symphony and Ontario Philharmonic; Bounce, a new Horn Trio for Boston Symphony principal hornist James Sommerville, violinist Scott St. John, and pianist Peter Longworth; a new work for the Daedalus Quartet and clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois, co-commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; a work for cello and electronics, for a consortium of cellists in Canada and the U.S.; a new work for the San Jose Chamber Orchestra; and a new orchestral work commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada. Her 2016-17 season highlights include performances of Dust Devils with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the US Premiere of Biennale Snapshots with the La Jolla Symphony, String Sinfonietta with Symphony Nova Scotia, as well as performances of Blaze with the Okanagan Symphony.

Many distinguished artists and ensembles around the world have embraced Fung’s music as part of the core repertoire.  Conductors with whom she has collaborated include Justin Brown, Bramwell Tovey, Mei-Ann Chen, Gerard Schwarz, Peter Oundjian, Edwin Outwater, Andrew Cyr, and Steven Schick.  Fung’s Glimpses for prepared piano has been championed by a diverse group of pianists, including Margaret Leng Tan, Conor Hanick, Jenny Lin, and Bryan Wagorn. Fung’s orchestral and chamber works have also been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Alabama Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Shanghai Quartet, Ying Quartet, Suwon Chorale of South Korea, and American Opera Projects, to name a few.

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 other of Fung’s works have been released commercially on the Telarc, Çedille, Innova, and Signpost labels.

Fung traveled to Southwest China in 2012 for ethno-musicological research 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. Following the premiere performance, The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Yunnan Folk Songs stood out … [with] a winning rawness that went beyond exoticism.” As a composer whose travels often inspire her music, Fung has also explored diverse cultures in North Vietnam, Spain, and Indonesia. She toured Bali in 2010 and competed in the Bali Arts Festival as an ensemble member and composer in Gamelan Dharma Swara.

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, New York Foundation for the Arts’ Gregory Millard Fellowship, ASCAP, BMI, American Music Center, MAP Fund, Music Alive! and the League of American Orchestras, American Composers’ Forum, and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and is 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 was a faculty member at Juilliard from 2002 to 2010 and currently lives in California with her husband Charles Boudreau, their son Julian, and their Shiba Inu, Mulan.

For more information, please visit: www.vivianfung.net or www.vivianfung.ca


Excerpt from “Biennale Snapshots” with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

“Biennale Snapshots” celebrates the Vancouver Biennale’s 2014 – 2016 Open Air Museum installations. The work is in 5 movements, 25 minutes, and inspired by the artworks of 5 internationally renowned artists that are part of the Vancouver Biennale’s exhibition – two Chinese artists, Ren Jun and Ai Wei Wei, Indian artist Sumakshi Singh, Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos, and Brazilian graffiti artists OsGemeos. http://vivianfung.ca/music/biennale-snapshots-full-orchestra/

Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.

Aqua for full orchestra (2013) by Vivian Fung

Part of “ChiScape,” a project commissioned by Chicago Sinfonietta for their 25th Anniversary season, based on inspirations from iconic Chicago buildings. Conducted by Mei-Ann Chen.

This composition is inspired by Chicago’s Aqua Tower, an award-winning, 82-story skyscraper completed in 2010 and designed by Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang Architects.

Full note with images of building at: http://vivianfung.ca/music/aqua/

Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.

Sketch for Cello and Electronics (2015)

Sketch was written for the inaugural concert of the Manhattan Chamber Players and is a short work for cello and electronics. The piece begins with a brooding atmosphere, gradually becomes light and airy with jaunty marimba-like electronics, and ends contemplatively, recalling material from the beginning. I entitled this piece Sketch simply because I intend to expand this work into a larger piece for cello and interactive electronics in the near future.

Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.

NewMusicBox Articles

Articles June 29 2011 | By Vivian Fung
Embracing My Banana-ness: One Composer’s Journey Towards Finding Her Identity

I am what is known in certain Asian circles as a banana: yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Yellow as a product of Chinese parents; white as a...