Hainu Tan | Spotlight

Compositions by CSULA grad student resonate across continents

CSULA music graduate student Hainu Tan hopes to share her music inspiration with the world, merging U.S.-based Western composition technique with 5,000 years of Chinese music history.

Photo of Hainu Tan holding the Sound of Wind musical score.

Hainu Tan will discuss her “Sound of Wind” quintet piece at a campus symposium Friday. (Details below.)

Reaching across continents, her masterpiece compositions have already been performed in China, Europe and throughout the United States.

In Germany last summer, Tan composed a piece for string trio—The Dream of Berlin, for violin, viola and clarinet—that was performed at the “From Us to You–New Chamber Music from America” concert. She also had the opportunity to study at the Freie Universität Berlin under Professor Samuel Adler of Julliard School. Her study abroad was made possible through a scholarship from The German Academic Exchange Service.

Tan said, “My experience in Germany, with its illuminating cacophony of European architecture, allowed me to absorb Western culture more fully. The conflict and fusion of American and German cultures have inspired my compositions, and I am very grateful to both for this incredible cultural exchange.”

Recently, Tan was selected as one of seven emerging composers at the San Francisco State University’s International Center for the Arts inaugural 21st Century 2009 Composition Competition. Her new quintet—Sound of Wind, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano—was performed at the center’s “Illumination and Reflections: First Annual Symposium on Music in the 21st Century.”

According to John M. Kennedy, music composition professor at Cal State L.A., “Tan was the only selected composer at the Master of Music level, sharing the honor with six doctoral candidates and professors from Berklee College of Music, Yale School of Music, Brandeis University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, and Harvard University.”

Learn more yourself: At the Friday, Feb. 27, CSULA Student Symposium on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, Tan will present how Sound of Wind “represents the mystical sights and sounds that flow in nature.” The 20-minute oral presentation will be at 9:20 a.m. in the San Gabriel Room of the University-Student Union.

In Indiana last October—and marking a first for CSULA’s composition program—Tan’s paper, “The Conflict and Fusion of Japanese and Arabian Music Culture,” was selected by the Society of Composers, Inc. to be presented at its 2008 Student National Conference at Ball State University.

This April, Tan will head to Las Vegas to participate in the Nevada Encounters of New Music, a composers’ symposium and festival at the University of Nevada.

Tan, who immigrated to the United States in 2004, will complete her Master of Music at Cal State L.A. this spring. She obtained her B.A. in music composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, and has studied at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“My studies at California State University, Los Angeles, have provided a strong foundation for my composition career in the United States and future development throughout the world.  I am also thankful for Doctor John M. Kennedy of the Music Department, and his guidance with my compositions.”  -- Hainu Tan