Juilliard Snapshot: Shen Yiwen on Studying Composition at Juilliard

One thing I found very important to me is how good
those performers, those instrumentalists are at Juilliard, because as a composer you
cannot ask for more — ask for better players than those colleagues. You know, if you write something, they play it, they play it
beautifully. If you write something, they cannot play it, that’s not their problem,
that’s your problem. You know, if they say, “this is not practical, there are issues, go fix it.” So, you know, I really trust those performers and any, you know, whatever they do out of my music and I feel it’s — it’s a second, you know, they give a
second life to the piece with their own interpretation and with their own
thoughts and also my colleagues, they are all enthusiastic about modern music. They
want to play living composers’ pieces, not they are only working on their
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto but they really want new music. Several of my colleagues have
commissioned me for their own recitals. They say, you know, “hey, do you want to
write a piece for me for my recital?” and we did a collaboration. It was a
wonderful experience.

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