New Colors: Composing in the 21st Century


“Rather than see the differences between the improvisational tradition of jazz and my training in classical composition, I embraced what were obvious links. Charlie Parker’’s harmonic extensions, which he called the ‘pretty notes,’ had much in common with the sensual chords of Debussy and Ravel. The harmonic language of post-bop pianists like McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea had parallels to Bartók, Hindemith, and Stravinsky. I heard a lot of Messiaen in Brookmeyer’s charts.”

A rising figure in the world of contemporary music writes about his inspirations and offers a fascinating glimpse into his creative process.

Anthony Cheung is a composer, a pianist, and the artistic director of the Talea Ensemble, which he co-founded in 2007. The New York Philharmonic, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, and the French National Orchestras of Lille and Lorraine, among others, have commissioned his music. A recipient of the 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, Cheung has also received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and ASCAP, the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (2012), and first prize in the Sixth International Dutilleux Competition (2008). He is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Brown University.