Provintia, “Sunset of Chihkan Tower” (赤崁夕照) by Chihchun Chi-sun Lee (b. 1970)
Taiwanese-American composer Chihchun Chi-sun Lee, winner of the first Biennial Brandenburg Symphony International Composition Competition and a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, was educated in Taiwan and the United States. She received a bachelor’s degree from Soochow University in Taiwan, two masters’ degrees from Ohio University and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan.
The composer writes: “Provintia (Fort Provintia, Chihkan Tower) is one of Taiwan’s historical monuments, located in Tainan City. Provintia was built in 1653 by the Dutch during their colonization of Taiwan, on the land of the Siraya indigenous people. Over three centuries, Provintia has been through wars and natural disasters, has been rebuilt and restored, and has served as a Chinese pagoda during the Qing Dynasty as well as a hospital during World Wars I and II. The rich history of the site was the inspiration for this piece, which was originally written for erhu (the twostringed Chinese fiddle).
“The piece takes us through a ‘time tunnel’ of the history of this monument. The main musical materials are extracted from the Siraya people’s music, as well as Dutch music. The beginning of the piece represents the three centuries of history, and the middle section takes us through the several wars that the tower weathered. The ending describes the view from Provintia, one of the best locations to view the sunset in all of Taiwan, with the soft touch of the sunset brightening and softening the tower’s past violence of war.”
For more information about the composer, please see chihchunlee.com