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Yiran Zhao makes use not only of musical elements but also of objects, bodies, movements and light-sources as compositional material. Many of her pieces inhabit the various boundary states between instrumental music, performance, sound-installation, and video-art. Leonie Reineke describes the composer in the CD-booklet as a “prudent researcher“, who encounters the sonic cosmos of her environment with great earnestness, and comes microscopically close to things.

In the composition “Piep“ she focuses on electrical metronomes as sound generators, with which the two percussionists Christian Dierstein and Dirk Rothbrust produce rhythmic patterns, different pitches or glissandi.

In “Fluctuation Ia“, interpreted by Ensemble Recherche, the entire development of the music derives from a cookie-tin hanging from a stand, connected by a metal wire to a piano string.

As a starting point for the contemporary melodrama “Oder Ekel kommt vor Essenz“ Zhao analysed with the computer a poetry collection of the Congolese Fiston Mwanza Mujila. The Deutsche-Symphonie Orchester Berlin can be heard here sometimes with full, saturated orchestral sound, sometimes speechlike in the instruments’ articulation. Towards the end the piece is leaving the stage free for a powerful text recitation of the poet himself.

Four additional videos, which are only available online, complement the six instrumental-vocal works of this portrait. Zhao’s virtuoso use of light can be experienced in the work “Ohne Stille II“ for example.

A release of Edition Zeitgenössische Musik
Coproduction of Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Deutscher Musikrat gGmbH (1, 3-6), production Deutscher Musikrat gGmbH (2).


Fluctuation Ia for violin, viola, violoncello, flute, clarinet, piano and percussion
behind the apples for 6 vocalists
TOUCH II for viola, guitar, flute, clarinet and piano
Piep for two KORG MA-1 metronomes
Joik. Solo for frame drum
Oder Ekel kommt vor Essenz for speaker and orchestra


Ensemble Recherche / Neue Vocalsolisten / Dirk Rothbrust, Christian Dierstein: percussion, metronome / Fiston Mwanza Mujila: voice / Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Peter Rundel: conductor

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Yiran Zhao
54 ′44 ′′

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Product number:
WER 64382
0,11 kg

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German Music Council / Contemporary Music Edition

In its renowned Contemporary Music Edition the German Music Council set itself the task of creating a basic listening library of contemporary composition in Germany. The edition is distinguished by the high quality of the performances and of the accompanying texts. It includes recordings by renowned interpreters and ensembles, often under the direction of the composer; the carefully edited booklets present the composers and musicologists in analyses of the works and in aesthetic commentaries. For more information on the composers within the Contemporary Music Edition (including biographies, lists of works and audio samples), please click here.


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