I’m Malaysian composer Dr. CHONG Kee Yong, welcome to my website!

我是馬來西亞作曲家鍾啟榮博士, 歡迎來到我的網頁!

I am Malaysian-Chinese composer Dr Chong Kee Yong. My musical language embraces not only a rich palette of constantly expanding instrumental colours. I never stop looking for new colours and I am keen to dig into past traditions with its lyricism, rhythmic vitality and tonality and work these into my austere contemporary language, which is enriched by my own Chinese culture as well as the multi-layered ethnic and cultural Malaysian heritage influences. I am deeply interested in how the East-West aesthetics in multi-layered cultural and ethnic heritages can influence music. This has played a large part in my compositional approach and philosophy.

As a Malaysian composer living in a multicultural tradition, because of the persistence of the Chinese ancestors on the inheritance of Chinese culture, they founded a Chinese elementary school that uses Chinese mother tongue as the medium of education. At the same time, Malaysia national education policy guarantees that all ethnic groups can open their own mother tongue schools and learn their mother tongue freely, as well as publicly promote cultural customs. Therefore, in the early years, many Chinese immigrants from Fujian and Guangdong also brought the poems, Nanyin, Hakka folk songs, puppet show, calligraphy, and literature that were popular in China to south East Asia.

I learned the classics “Three Hundred Tang Dynasty Poems” since I was a child in the kindergarten and primary school. Our teachers taught us by used of the method of memorization all poems word by word. I didn’t understand the meaning and artistic conception of those poems at all!

But in year 1994, I was so lucky able to go Xi’an (China), the ancient capital of the Tang Dynasty for my Bachelor of Arts studies, I was exposed to the music, poems, literatures, paintings and calligraphy from the ancient Tang Dynasty (689-740). I began to understand those poems I learned when I was a child! I start inspiring by the poets of the Tang Dynasty who were good at creating various metaphors about the world by borrowing the natural landscape or scenes. I personally love the poetry of Tang dynasty famous poet Wang Wei, his poem always describes as “Paintings as poems and poems as paintings! I have used his poems in two of my works, “Lui Xu Fei” for oboe and cello; and “Hollow Mountain” for Western Chamber ensemble. I have been deeply inspired by this Tang dynasty culture and till today, my music reflects all these influences, ensemble grouping, instrumental setting, musical form, and unique tuning temperaments.

Most of my compositions, I focus more on the importance of Chinese sources of poetry and philosophical thinking and the key compositional roles played by elements such as sonic mobility and spatialisation, interplay and interchange of roles, the concept of ‘living ornamentation’ in creating heterophony and vocalisation. Sonic mobility and spatialisation, as realised through unique instrumental layouts in my compositions, are deeply informed by my childhood experience of listening to the acoustics of nature in the woods. The interplay and interchange of roles between instruments through their alternations of similar passages in an improvisational style are inspired by oral traditions in the teacher-student mentorship relationship in the study of music.


I hope that during my stay in the residency program, I can learn from the local cultural to know how the ancient folk tunes of the Swiss traditional mountains folk melodies are passed down through oral traditions methods. At the same time, I hope with all the cultural interaction and activities during the residency period, I can integrating the picturesque scenery of the Swiss mountains together with my love of Tang poetry to creates a beautiful poetic composition for human voice, recorders and pre-recorded environmental sound.


Although the imitation of the outward features of other cultures is an important part of the attempt to compose cross-cultural pieces, such imitation is only one part of the learning process. The most difficult task is to make a meaningful cultural confluence out of these influences. For several years, I have been researching on East and Southeast Asian traditional music to further broaden my horizons and to explore my heritage as a Malaysian-Chinese composer. My music demonstrates the integration of Western and Asian musical traditions and thinking while referring to a wider context that involves theatre, philosophy, rituals, and spirituality.

Recent Posts

Wabi inspirations

Morning reading a very inspiring book “Wabi inspirations” given by guru Axel Vervoordt and Tatsuro Miki san, all beauty is imperfect, incomplete, and impermanent–as transitory as life itself. 晨读我超愛的一本书”Wabi之灵感”,感谢比利时著名设计师收藏家大师Axel Vervoordt和Tatsuro Miki san送我他们的创意无限的书,如他们追求最原始最简意的美学精神, 所有美好事物都是不完美,不完整,不永久,就如在世上过渡的人生!

The Journey Begins

Only wait until a day the Loach grow scales and the horse grow horn, then I will be back home! …等到滑哥(泥鳅)生鱗, 馬生角..涯就轉來! 新加坡华乐团—新加坡国际华乐作曲大赛2015座谈会之分享 钟启荣博士 大家早上好!我觉得我非常同意之前的讲员和同事们的观点。对于这次比赛尤其Joyce (许美端博士) 做了的分析。同事之间也反映出了南洋风格的一个追求问题和一个探讨问题。我觉得这都是一个重要的课题在发展当中,但是我非常感谢葉聰老师和华乐团“收留”我成为他们其中的一个作曲家团队,就等于邀请我们参与和一起探索南洋風格等问题。我是说有了这个平台,对作曲家的我们可以说是有一个很棒的个人化艺术的展现平台。同时,也需要有个愿意体现作曲家的意愿的音乐平台。如果没有了这个华乐团,没有了葉聰指挥的邀约,这些都是不可能发生的,所以我觉得在乐团在这部分起着一个非常重要的一个过程。华乐团也给我们另一个更重要的方面是采风。专门到马六甲看了土生文化(Peranakan),在那里就可以了解当地的音乐文化。我们还去过泉州南音和客家山歌采風以便更了解当地的文化。我一直建议在我们的教育体系里头能采用這采風的课程,虽然我经常和吳多才博士和其他的作曲同事说起在我们的音乐教育应该有这课程,南艺的前院长朱院长也常提起为什么在音乐教育里面不能有采风的项目呢?也可能在教育的规则上不太能实行。以个人的意愿,像我自己有做过几个音乐活动/音乐节,像葉老师一样,我们提供一个团队,虽不属于一个学院,但是一个集体(Collective)。 我们下乡去采集素材的时候,我们可以运用在我们的创作的过程中。在这过程里面,尊重传统,同时发扬传统。不管是南洋或亚洲也好,这些素材都是我们非常精彩的一个文化遗产。因为在新加坡,很多的老文化已经开始消去,当这文化消去后,你只能到博物馆去,所以这种活着的文化,如果不在当下采集,它再也不能重现了。就好比方言,客家话、闽南话、潮州话,当这语言不在你家里发生的时候,它就是只变成一种回忆,就只能好像听过我奶奶说过这样的话,但是你若真正去体会这些音调的时候 (还有食物),你不能很贴切的运用在你的音乐中,你只能引用(quote)。如此你就不需要在新加坡你也能写,因为只要去图书馆,有音像就可以了。但是我觉得作曲家很多时候以个人本身的艺术体会,如你对客家话掌握的非常好,你的表现张力非常大。我记得周文中老师曾说,你先要是一个“完整”的人就是要有整体的艺术体会,同时要在你的音乐语言要诚实,实实在在表现你的音乐。不管你用什么风格的技法,至少你的音乐体会是非常真诚的,能感动当中的听众。我觉得这是我们作曲家唯一非常重要的一件事情,要真正的知道自己在写什么。为谁而写?为自己还是为自己的艺术理念而继续?当中这南洋的精神才会存在。如你只是从网上采集资料反而没真正切身的体会,我觉得会少了实际经验(hands-on)手感有点虚假的,我觉得创作者需要真正去体会文化现象。我建议大家多多跟葉聰老师和大家同事一起下乡采风。这是我非常愿意看到的事情。谢谢。 Sharing my thought at the Singapore Chinese Orchestra_2015 SICCOC Symposium. Dr. Chong Kee Yong Good morning! I totally agree with what the previous presenters and my … Continue reading The Journey Begins

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