Chapman University has appointed Chinary Ung, DMA, as Senior Composer in Residence in its Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music. Ung has had many associations with Chapman over the years, including a long collaboration with Sean Heim, Ph.D., associate professor of music composition. Ung was Heim’s mentor in graduate school and through the years they have remained close friends and colleagues. They share a kindred aesthetic and have collaborated on many festivals, concerts, and tours over the years. Ung’s daughter Sonika graduated from Chapman with a degree in psychology in 2011.
Ung was born in Cambodia in 1942 and has lived and worked in the United States since 1964, when he arrived in New York City – speaking virtually no English – to study clarinet at the Manhattan School of Music. His compositions are testament to an ear that is remarkably open, and an imagination capable of drawing together the seemingly disparate sounds and attitudes of contemporary concert music and Southeast Asian traditional music.
Ung received his DMA from Columbia University, where his principal mentor was Chou Wen-Chung. His work has been commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Asian Cultural Council, the Meet the Composer/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, Mutable Music, and the Ford, Rockefeller, Koussevitzky, Joyce, Jebediah, and Barlow Foundations. For his work Inner Voices he was given the Grawemeyer Award, perhaps the most prestigious prize in music composition. Most recently the Asian Cultural Council has named Ung recipient of the John D. Rockefeller Award for 2014.
Ung’s music is featured on numerous recordings released on Atoll, Naxos, Ein Klang and Bridge Records. His compositions are published exclusively by C.F. Peters Corporation and they are registered under BMI. Ung is currently a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, San Diego.