Contemporary Chinese composers have a rich palette from which to draw inspirations of the distinctive timbres of ancient instruments, the diverse musical types, and the development of musical instruments. Zhou Long, an internationally recognized Chinese-American composer, has created a compositional style that transfers the sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments. An examination of Zhou Long’s compositions Secluded Orchid and Spirit of Chimes demonstrates his synthesis of Chinese and Western techniques as well as cross-cultural integration. To gain a better understanding of the compositional process of these two piano trios, the author conducted a personal interview with Zhou Long on October 21, 2016, during which he provided unique insight into the influences and inspirations of these pieces. This document describes how the history of ancient Chinese music, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, as well as Zhou Long’s life and education, influenced Seclude Orchid and Spirit of Chimes. The inspirations, formal structures, harmonic language, and compositional techniques that are presented in these works are also discussed. Finally, other repertoires of Zhou Long that share similar ideas or inspirations are explored.
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