Dr. CHONG Kee Yong, one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary music composers, possesses one of the most exciting voices in music today. His work has been hailed as “imaginative and poetic” by conductor-composer Peter Eötvös, and as “inventive and artistically pure” by composer Jonathan Harvey. The uniqueness of his music stems not only from a rich palette of sounds, but his experimentation with traditions, infusing his own Chinese and multi-cultural Malaysian heritage with his work.
Dr. Chong was born in Kluang, Johor, where his parents were farmers. He graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Arts in Kuala Lumpur and completed his Bachelor of Arts at the Xian Conservatory with Prof Rao Yu Yan and Prof Zhang Da Long. Professor Rao recommended that Dr. Chong pursue his final studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Brussels (Flemish & French sections) under the guidance of Prof Jan Van Landeghem and Prof Daniel Capelletti.
In 2001, Dr. Chong graduated as Master of Composition with highest honours. His postgraduate studies include numerous master classes with composers such as Brian Ferneyhough, Daan Manneke, Zoltan Janey, Peter Eötvös, Salvatore Sciarrino, Henri Pousseur, and Hanspeter Kyburz.
Dr. Chong’s distinctive style has won him many awards and commissions. His list of prizes at various competitions is remarkable, for example the Prix Marcel Hastir by Belgium Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters & Fine-arts (1999, 2003), the 4th International Andrzej Panufnik Competition for Young Composers in Poland (2002), the Grand Prix at the 2nd Seoul International Competition for Composers (2003), the Max-Reger-Tage International Composition Competition in Germany (2004), the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra International Composers’ Award (2004), second prize at the 2nd Lepo Sumera International Young Composer Prize (2006), Lutoslawski Award (2006), BMW Award in the International Isang Yun Music Prize in Korea (2007), 2nd prize in the Preisträgerkonzert des Internationalen Kompositionswettbewerbes “global music—contemporary expression” in Germany, 3rd prize in Luxembourg International Composition Award 2008, Giga-Hertz-Award 2009 (Germany) and best orchestration award at the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra International Composition Competition 2017.
He has been awarded the composer-in-residency with Akademie der Künste (Germany), Herrenhaus Edenkoben (Germany), Asian Cultural Council (USA), the Center Henri Pousseur (Belgium), SWR EXPERIMENTALSTUDIO (Germany), Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship 2014 (USA/Italy), National Gugak Center Fellowship 2015 (Korea), ignm-vs_forum Wallis 2017 (Switzerland) and Spring Workshop 2017. (Hong Kong)
He is the first Malaysian composer received the prestigious commission grant award by the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation (USA) and the prestigious “The Outstanding Young Malaysian Awards” in the Cultural Achievement category.
To recognize Chong’s contributions to South East Asia’s contemporary music scene, Huddersfield University (UK) awarded him a full scholarship for the PhD by publication 2014-2016 under the guidance of Prof. Liza Lim.
Dr. Chong is the creative director of Studio C, president (2017-2019) and vice president (2011-2016) of the Society of Malaysian Contemporary Composers, and was the artistic director of the 2009 Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival and SMCC Contemporary Music Festival “SoundBridge” 2013, 2015 and 2017. 2016-2017, he was visiting professor of Shanghai Conservatory of Music and 2018 appointed as visiting professor for the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
Dr. Kee Yong Chong
Dr. La Verne C. Dela Peña is the UP College of Music’s (CMu) dean. The UP Board of Regents approved his appointment at its 1331st meeting effective Oct.18.
The 14th CMu dean will serve until Oct. 17, 2020.
An associate professor, Dela Peña teaches courses in music of Asia and Oceania, 20th century western art music and ethnomusicology.
His areas of research center on the discursive elements of music in sung narratives, repartee and ritual of the Kankana-ey of Benguet, Iraya Mangyan of Mindoro Island, Tagalog of Sariaya, Quezon and Yakan of Basilan Island, Pinoy folk in the Marcos years, multicultural church music and Pinoy hiphop culture.
He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawai’i in 2000 as an East-West Center Degree Fellow. He obtained both his master and bachelor degrees in Music major in composition from UP in 1991 and 1983, respectively.
He was appointed as the director of the UP Center for Ethnomusicology in 2016 and has been serving as chairman of the Musicology Department since June 2004.
He is an advisor at the C-ASEAN Consonant (Ensemble comprised of musicians in 11 ASEAN nations based in Bangkok, Thailand from 2015 to present.
Dela Peña was ranked UP Artist II through the UP Arts Productivity Award in 2015-2017 and UP Artist I in 2011-2013. He was also a recipient of the Metro Manila Commission Professorial Chair (Aug. 2016 to June 2017).
Dela Peña also shares his expertise in Philippine music through paper presentations and public lectures locally and internationally.
Some of the papers he presented were: “An Overview of Philippine Music” at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of California at Berkeley, USA on Apr. 5, 2016, “The Kundiman and the Kulintang and the Crafting of a Philippine Art Music Imaginary at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Washington State Convention Center, WA, USA from Mar. 31 to Apr. 3, 2016, and the “Crossing Borders: the Migration of the Mindanaoan Kulintang” at the “Restoration of Asian Unity: A Search for New Directions in the Development of Asian Traditional Music” held at the UP Balay Kalinaw on Apr. 7, 2015.