Reborn: Music of Austin Huang

Sunday, June 25, 2023 • 7:00 p.m.
Benaroya Hall (200 University St)

Harmonia Orchestra & Chorus
William White, conductor
Dongke Tu, conductor
Yuan Fang, violin
Hao Miao, soprano


Austin Huang (*1957)
Qinqiang (“Crossing Time”)

Austin Huang
Violin Concerto (“1984, Pursuit of Dreams”)

— intermission —

Zheng Qiufeng
“I Love You, China” from Overseas Compatriots

Austin Huang
Symphony No. 2 (“Gir”)

About the Concert

These three orchestral works by Austin Huang, a prominent Chinese composer resident in Seattle, introduce a new voice to contemporary symphonic music. They emerged during the time of the Covid pandemic and resonate with our shared trauma. Musically, they represent a fusion of traditional Chinese music and Western symphonic music.

In Dr. Huang’s music, the boundaries of these styles shift in a way that challenges and restructures divisions, between the West and the East, life and non-life, culture and nature, object and sound, concord and discord, actual and virtual. The composer’s own life living between continents informs this work, as does his philosophical and historical perspective, which seeks to unite the Three Chinese Teachings (Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.)

From Seattle grunge to Qinqiang opera (秦腔) to the Tibetan tongqin (铜钦), the composer challenges the post-structural mindset, reuniting the cosmic, the sonic and the humanistic, and unpacking the audible threads of humanity, as they stretch from the prosaic to the extraordinary.

Austin Huang

Dr. Austin X. Huang, a Chinese-American composer and engineer born in Jilin, China, is now based in Seattle. He holds a Ph.D. in Rock Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE). He studied composition from pioneering American composer Roger Briggs.

Dr. Huang’s compositions bear the imprint of his interdisciplinary career, bringing ecology, culture and landscape into his artistic practice. Since 2013, his works have been performed on major concert stages across China and the U.S., such as Benaroya Hall in Seattle and Beijing Concert Hall. He holds honorary affiliate professor of music and visiting professor of music positions at universities in the U.S. and China.