Ying-Chen Kao 高盈真 (b.1981) has received various commissions and performances by renowned musicians, ensembles and organizations such as the Peabody Children’s Chorus, Peabody Preparatory Dance Department, cellists Michael Kannen, pianist Jenny Lin, organist Donald Sutherland, jazz saxophonist Gary Thomas, REDSHIFT ensemble, guitarist Benjamin Beirs, guitarist Tracy Anne Smith, duo Pictures on Silence, AM/PM Saxophone Quartet and the Summer Trombone Workshop 2008 in Taiwan. Ms. Kao collaborated with the Peabody Dance Department to celebrate the 150 year celebration of the Peabody Institute on a ballet and video piece Collidescope. The ballet was overseen by renowned American theatre artist and choreographer Martha Clarke. In December 2008, Ms. Kao’s solo guitar piece was released on Tracy Anne Smith’s solo album, “Lilac.Star.Bird.” Ms. Kao is also an active graphic artist and in August 2006 her graphic work Constellation of Voice appeared on the cover of Carnegie Hall’s October playbill.
Ms. Kao has been awarded several grants and scholarships such as the Randolph S. Rothschild Award, the Austin Weeks Scholarship, Maxwell R. Lepper Endowment Scholarship, Lawrence Friedman Music Scholarship, Otto Ortman Award and the Peabody Conservatory Graduate Assistantship Full Tuition Award. Ms. Kao was the recipient of an Encore Grant from the American Composers Forum, and a Peabody Development Grant for her collaborative concert tour Living Music. She received First Prize in the Prix D'Ete Composition Competition in 2009 and was the winner of the Peabody Camerarta Composer Contest in 2005. Ms. Kao’s Toccata (for viola and piano) was described as a “challenging and rich work” in the Coral Gables Gazette and her guitar solo work, Lilac.Star.Bird was described as “…an evocative and surreal soundscape…” by Timothy Smith on minor 7th.com and “exceedingly beautiful” by Al Kunze in Soundboard magazine.
Ms. Kao holds her Bachelor’s degree in Theory Composition from the University of Miami, where she also performed extensively as a solo and chamber pianist. Ms. Kao is currently a doctoral candidate at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she also received her Masters Degree. Ms. Kao has studied piano with J.B. Floyd and composition with Christopher Theofanidis, John Van der Slice, Robert Gower, Paul Wilson, Lu Wen-Tze and Michael Hersch. Ms. Kao has participated in master classes with Chen Yi, Melissa Hui, Libby Larsen, Nathan Currier and Christopher Rouse.