Universal Edition - Julian Yu


Julian Yu

The Composer

Julian Yu, who was born in Beijing on 2 September 1957, suprised his non-musical family by writing his first composition at the age of twelve. He went on to study composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and later joined the teaching staff there. From 1980 to 1982 he studied at the Tokyo College of Music under Joji Yuasa. In 1985 he settled in Australia. In 1988 Julian Yu was a composition fellow at Tanglewood, where he studied under Hans Werner Henze and Oliver Knussen.

Julian Yu has received more than twenty awards for composition since 1987, including the Koussevitzky Tanglewood Composition Prize as well as awards in competitions in Japan, Italy, France, the USA ...


About the Music

Julian Yu prefers to be described as a “composer” rather than be labelled a “Chinese composer” and he does not believe in overtly parading his ethnic origins in his music.

Since emigrating to Australia he has studied Western music in depth while in parallel exploring how to “inherit the Chinese musical tradition in different ways.” Instead of borrowing the external sounds and modes of Chinese music, he has tapped into its inner structures. Two prominent features of Yu's method of composition are improvisation, usually based on a piece he has previously composed, and ornamentation, the elaboration of existing material such as the music of J S Bach. Ornamentation is an ...


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