Described as "evocative and kaleidoscopic” (Seattle Times) the music of composer Dorothy Chang often reflects the eclectic mix of musical influences from her youth, ranging from popular and folk music to elements of traditional Chinese music. Many of her works are inspired by place, time, memory and personal histories.
Dorothy’s catalog includes over seventy works for solo, chamber and large ensembles as well as collaborations involving theatre, dance and video. Her interest in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration has led to projects including a radio play adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s White Wines for four vocalists and speaking percussionist, several mixed chamber ensemble works for Chinese and Western instruments, and most recently, a collaboration with choreographer Yukichi Hattori and four other composers in the large-scale True North Symphonic Ballet premiered in 2017 by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
Her music has been featured in concerts and festivals across North America and abroad, with performances by the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Queens Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, as well as by chamber ensembles including eighth blackbird, the Nu:BC Collective, the Smith Quartet, Soundstreams, the Chicago Saxophone Quartet, Collage New Music and Music from China, among others.
Awards and honours that Dorothy has received include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the International Alliance for Women in Music, Mu Phi Epsilon, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Meet the Composer and the Jacob Druckman Orchestra Prize from the Aspen Music Festival. She has received commissions from the Canada Council of the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, the Barlow Endowment, Chamber Music America, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. For the 2003-04 and 2005-08 seasons, Dorothy held a Music Alive composer residency with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. In 2008 she was awarded the inaugural commission from the Women's Philharmonic Commissioning Project of Meet the Composer for a new orchestral work, Strange Air, which was premiered at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music by Marin Alsop and the festival orchestra.
Born in Winfield, Illinois, Dorothy began her music studies on piano at age six and began composing at the age of fourteen. She received degrees in composition from the University of Michigan (B.M., M.M.) and the Indiana University School of Music (D.M). She has served on the music faculty at Indiana State University and since 2003 has been a Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Upcoming projects include a new double concerto for erhu (Chinese fiddle) and piano, which will be premiered in 2018 by the Piano-Erhu Project and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.