Yuanyuan (Kay) HE began learning piano at age 5. At age 15, she began studying composition at the affiliated middle school of Shenyang Conservatory of China. As a double major undergraduate, Kay He studied with Tang Jianping in composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing (CCOM), and with Zhang Xiaofu at the Conservatory’s Center for Electroacoustic Music of China (CEMC). The winner of the Snow Scholarship, Kay He completed her Master’s degree in composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). While at UMKC, she studied under Dr. Zhou Long, Dr. Chen Yi, Dr. Paul Rudy and Dr. James Mobberley. Besides music, she also learned to paint at the UMKC Department of Art and Fine Arts. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in composition (DMA) at the University of Texas at Austin, studying under Dr. Dan Welcher, Dr. Russell Pinkston, Dr. Donald Grantham, and Dr. Yevgeniy Sharlat.
As a young composer, Kay has won many composition awards in the U.S. and abroad. Her piece On the Threshold of a Drizzly Reality was selected for 2014 performances at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) in Athens, Greece, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival and the Root Signals music festival in Jacksonville, Florida; her piano trio Shadow of Dewdrops was selected for Gamma UT music festival in 2014; the orchestra piece Legends of Old Peking won the Seattle Symphony’s Celebrate Asia Composition in 2012; Dying Away won the 2011 DuoSolo Emerging Composer Competition; Destiny of the Sputnik was chosen in the 2011 Beijing Modern Music Festival Young Composers Project, and many other pieces have won awards or competitions in other parts of the world.
In the Composer’s Own Words:
Passeig de Grácia for orchestra is dedicated to my parents, who both gave me and taught me to appreciate life. The inspiration for this piece came during my solo trip to Barcelona. While wandering around the famous Passeig de Grácia (Passage de Grácia), I was impressed by the city, the so-called “The Great Enchantress.” The city is like a warm breeze from the Mediterranean Sea intertwined with a passionate and artistic spirit. Barcelona is the city that tells the whole world how it once made a fascinating dream come true. Antoni Gaudí was the dream shaper who filled the real world with gleaming colors, swirling sparks, and painted dreams. He used his magic to ignite the starry sky, embrace us, and fulfill our deepest dreams. These dreams are the remains of his time, floating along with the passion of art. Magic oozes from Barcelona. Mirth saturates in every lonely soul.
The orchestra is the medium to express my feeling of this glamorous city, and Gaudi, one of the greatest artists. This is my enchanting, dazzling, and passionate dream come true.