Score title



Chen Yi

More about the composer


Program note

It was during the week of 9/11 that I got a commission from the Elements Quartet for their "snapshot" series. The only thing I wanted to say in my music then was to express my emotion, naturally and immediately. New York has been my hometown since I left my motherland China in 1986. I love the people there, the friendship, the culture, the city, and the society... It's so vivid and inspiring. Since I was in New York in the fall of 2001, I went through the terrible tragedy and witnessed the whole event very closely. I took a photo from a neighboring community bulletin board (entitled Global Outrage, Denouncing Terrorist Acts) in front of the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association, where for a week I could smell the strong smoke and see the dark sky, even the pieces of paper with letterheads on the streets flying out from the World Trade Center after the explosions. It was so overwhelming that I cried for five days when I looked at the TV programs and read many newspapers with all the details. There were published articles and live pictures shown on the board, in English and Chinese. I think that the photo really expresses my emotion and thinking naturally and directly. I have translated it into this piece of music. My piece is titled Burning representing my anger towards terrorism, my compassion for the victims, and my admiration for the New York firefighters who sacrificed themselves for protecting thousands of their fellow citizens. I feel proud to be a New Yorker, and hope we have a peaceful future in the world.

Burning was premiered in New York City by the Elements Quartet on March 23, 2003.

—Chen Yi