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Rituals (2011) for piccolo and percussion  8'
For Angela Rowland
Commissioned by the Walden School for the Firebird Ensemble, Boston
Published by Meridian Publishing LLC, Available on

The idea of Rituals came about in 2007, when Dr. Angela Rowland, a founding member of the Macau Orchestra in Macau, proposed an idea to write a piece for piccolo and percussion inspired by the popular Chinese lion dance. I adopted the idea, and incorporate other urban scenes that I have encountered in New York City, to create this three-movement piece.

I. Lion Dance (or Dragon Dance) is a ceremonial ritual which are often performed in Chinese New Year’s time and civil ceremonies. It involves a loud percussion section and dancers with elaborated costume. Although this is usually done only with drums and percussion, the piccolo part represents the excitements from the crowd.<

II. Making Mocha, Two Geese consists of two parts, which deals with two urban scenarios that I found humorous and want to incorporate them into my music. Making Mocha involves the stirring of the chocolate syrup and espresso, with a “background” of a classical-style melody. It followed by Two Geese at the Riverside Park in Manhattan echoing each other, by using imitative passages between the piccolo and snare-brake drum combo.

III. Discotheque is groove-based and it refers to the hip-hop style in Jazz and music from Pop culture, in the idiomatic perspective of this piccolo-percussion setting.

Performance history:

July 10, 2011

Firebird Ensemble (Boston)
Sarah Brady, flute
Jeff Means, percussion
The Dublin School, Dublin, NH

** World Premiere


B4B B for Brazil (2010) for twelve percussion players  10'
Commissioned by Lien Percussion Ensemble, Taiwan
Available for purchase from HoneyRock Publishing

Brazil constitutes the first letter of the term "BRIC," a name that represents a bloc of countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which are achieving rapid economic advancement in recent years. It is exciting to know, however, the culture from these countries also contribute a great deal to our musical advancement of the world, and make our life better and meaningful. In this piece we will focus on Brazil and it’s wonderful Samba music.
The various styles of Brazilian Samba are as diverse as Brazil itself. Yet no matter which style you are listening to, your body moves along with the energetic groove of the music. It often mixes with other musical cultures such as reggae to give us a fresh perspective. I wasted no time to mix it up with other grooves around the world too. I am creating a “hybrid vehicle” to celebrate this fabulous musical culture.
Bollywood movies often have exciting dance numbers using exciting grooves. How did I use it? That is something for you to find out! One the other hand, I also utilized a Chinese “rap” form called Xubainan (or counting olives) in the piece. A Chinese Opera narrative form, spoken words are accompanied by a steady pulse from the temple block. Its rhythm can be easily resonated with the audience. Single numbers are used as lyrics so it can be sung in any language, side-by-side with samba rhythms. So if you pick it up during the piece, please sing along!
This is the reason why percussion music is so unique and fun to be a part of. No matter how many different backgrounds and traditions, we can always find a common ground through RHYTHM!

Performance history:
Oct 30, 2010

Lien Percussion Ensemble "Classic, Latin, Fiesta" Concert
National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan
** World Premiere


Qin for voice and percussion 20'
Commissioned by the Snell Duo
Available for purchase on Amazon

Qin is a seven-string zither of Chinese origin with a history of more than five thousand years. It was an instrument played by the aristocrats and intellectuals in ancient China. Although the music for qin is often pre-composed, the interpretation of the music is highly individualistic and often involves some improvisation. Intellectuals used it as an outlet for meditation.

“Qin – Three Songs About Nature” is a cycle of settings of three poems by Bai Juyi (C.E. 772-846) and Li Bai (C.E. 701-762) in the original Chinese language. The choice of this selection came from Chinese Literature scholar Jeannette L. Faurot’s article “Music and Nature in Ancient Chinese Thoughts” (1998). She points out that music is a medium for people to communicate their emotions with each other and with nature based on the notion of resonance and sympathetic vibration. (p.6)

This piece calls for two musicians – a female vocalist and a percussion player – providing an intimate set-up similar to qin music. The musical materials are freely associated, incorporating styles from contemporary classical to music from Brazil and jazz. This creative process, incorporating free association and meditation, is similar to the process found in Chinese literature mentioned by literature theorists Lu Ji and Liu Xie (Fourth and Fifth Century C.E. respectively). This centuries-old practice is incorporated with musical elements of the present day.

Performance history:

Oct 20, 2009

Snell Duo, Faculty Recital
White Hall, University of Missouri - Kansas City

Kansas City MO
** World Premiere

Sweet Bach for five percussion players 15'
Commissioned by Lien Percussion Ensemble, Taiwan, dedicated to Sam Lee
Available for purchase from HoneyRock Publishing

Lien Percussion Ensemble

We knew a great deal about Bach’s language and his wisdom by learning his music. This piece is an attempt to bring our Bach lovers to a different angle of understanding of Bach – by fusing his works to the contemporary language and medium (in this case, percussion). This is similar to the Marilyn Monroe’s portrait by Andy Warhol, or opera Einstein On the Beach by Philip Glass. This is a new experience of Bach’s music, with or without the connotation about the culture or time that he came from.

The first movement is called Fugue Islands. I was fascinated by the contrapuntal writing in the form of fugue and decided to take themes from Bach – the ostinati in the prelude of the G major Cello Suite and the Aria from the Goldberg Variations in a different tempo, and play simultaneously to contrast the tranquil and majestic feelings that these themes represent respectively – a kaleidoscope so-to-speak. Gavotte and Salsa are both folk dances in a fast tempo. The former came from the seventeenth-century France, the other from modern day Cuba. To have both in the same movement is truly a buy-one-get-one-free deal. Badinerie from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.1 is widely known, and it originally means “to jest.” When it combines join force with the chant of Dies Irae, it marks the creation of the Skeleton Dance, and it also brings the piece to an end.

Performance history:

May 29, June 7,
July 3, 11, 2010
Taipei Percussion, Taiwan
"Tone" Tour Perforamances (touring four cities in Taiwan, venues include National Recital Hall, Taiwan)
Nov 12, 2009

PASIC New Literature Session (Percussion Ensemble)
Hemiruge Percussion Ensemble (Director: Brett Dietz)
Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN

Oct 18, 2008

Lien Percussion Ensemble Concert
National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan
** World Premiere


Without a Trail to Lace (Mother's Lament / Daughter's Lullaby) (2006-8) for voice and vibe 8'
- First place, 2008 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest
Available for purchase from HoneyRock Publishing

(Daughter's Lullaby - towards the end)
Courtney Huffman, voice; Ben Phelps, vibe

Short Version (115 words)

Without  a Trail to Lace is musical setting of a serial poem by Nicky Schildkraut, each part of the poem is spoken by a different character – mother and daughter. In Mother’s Lament the poet provides a heart-rending poetic trope of simple lines penned by a Korean mother to her unborn child (from the anthology I Wish For You A Better Life, Yeong & Yeong Book Company, 1999). The contrapuntal setting of this text brings out the anguished search of the mother for her daughter. Daughter’s Lullaby explores the emotional conflict of a child torn between the instinct to know her biological parent and her bitterness at having been abandoned by them.

Long version (361 words)

This is the story of the poet’s own journey as a Korean child adopted by Western parents. It is also a struggle shared by thousands of other children. In his doctoral dissertation Comforting an Orphaned Nation (2005), sociologist and adopted Korean Tobias Hübinette estimates, “Over half a century of international adoption from Korea has produced a population of 156,000 adopted Koreans of whom two thirds have ended up in the US.” (p.222) He points out that although these children may have been brought up in an environment of material comfort, they often suffer from a feeling of cultural dislocation.

It is this sense of dislocation that is brought out in Alan Chan’s music; the ornamented rhythms and nuanced singing style of Mother’s Lament represent the poet’s search for her Korean heritage, while the harmonically rich Daughter’s lullaby symbolizes her Western upbringing.

In Mother’s Lament poet Nicky Schildkraut provides a heart-rending poetic trope of simple lines penned by a Korean mother to her unborn child (from the anthology I Wish For You A Better Life: Letters From the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ra Won to Their Children, edited by Sara Dorow, Yeong & Yeong Book Company, 1999). The contrapuntal setting of this text brings out the anguished search of the mother for her daughter. Exaggerated vibrato is used throughout the movement to evoke the style of traditional Korean p’ansori singing. The harmonic pallet of the vibraphone is restrained to occasional diads; two pitches united briefly as if to symbolize a reunion between mother an daughter.

Daughter’s Lullaby explores the emotional conflict of a child torn between the instinct to know her biological parent and her bitterness at having been abandoned by them. The child’s voice switches to spoken words, as she imagines the circumstances of her conception. It is only at the end of the piece, after a maddening flourish that the child comes to term with her grief of the brutal reality of her father’s abandonment of both mother and child. In the final tones, Chan’s score indicates calmo as the vibraphone sounds out a diad, followed by a lone B natural, a symbol perhaps of the daughter’s coerced independence?

Notes by Matthew Thomas

Mother's Lament

I would buy a pair of red shoes for your feet,
so when you glide across the floor of the world,

no one will feel the rupture of your heartbeat.

I would buy a red scarf for your fragrant hair
that frames the elegant face that echoes mine,

so no one will feel the radiance of your desert heat.

I would buy a red dress for your final dance
that flares around your waist like flames,

and catch you in my arms, the daughter I’ll never meet.

Daughter's Lullaby

I never heard you trill a lullaby so softly
above my crib where a paper star drifts—
you were tilting the ground below me,

shaking the roots free from yellow weeds,
and watching the sun sink into the marsh.

You were singing to my father’s shape
beside you, even though his ears were missing
and his beard was jagged with gray.

You shouted anyway, clear as the horns
that were faraway on the ships sailing on glass.

You mourned for the life you’d given
away, every fragment of my moon-sliced

eyes, chiseled tongue that would always cry
for the shape of you hurrying toward the dark.

~ Nicky Schildkraut (2006)

Performance history:

Apr. 10, 2010 @ G.I. 1: Gateway Multimedia Initiative concert
(Courtney Huffman via video; Yuri Inoo, vibraphone)
Oct 20, 2009 Snell Duo, Faculty Recital
White Hall, University of Missouri - Kansas City

Kansas City MO
Sept. 30, 2006

James Snell Faculty Recital, University of Missouri - Kansas City
** World Premiere
Daughter's Lullaby only


Floes (2002) for vibraphone solo 7' 
- Second place, 2004 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest
Available for purchase from HoneyRock Publishing

Bill Solomon, vibraphone

Performance history:
Nov 11, 2010 Percussive Arts Society International Conference
Bill Solomo
n / vibraphone
Dec 23, 2006 "metal...stone...being...cracked" Alan Chan Composition Recital (video presentation)
Mar 26, 2005

USC Composers' Showcase
Andrea Moore / vibraphone

6/4/2004 Floes (2002) was awarded second place at the Percussive Arts Society Composition Competition
6/3/2003 at the June in Buffalo festival (Vibraphone: Rin Ozaki)
** World premiere


MSBC metal...stone...being...cracked (2001/02) for five percussion players  12'
Commissioned by Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong
- 2002 ASCAP Morton Gould Composer Awards
- Winner, 2006 Louisiana State University Percussion Composition Competition

Available for purchase on
University of Memphis Percussion Ensemble

Jin Shi Wei Kai (literally translated as metal…stone…being…cracked) is an ancient Chinese idiom, dates back to the 5th century B.C., which tells about a famous archer and the struggle between his will and the unruly force of nature. It implies that if we have faith and effort, we can accomplish any difficult task. Similar proverbs can be found in the Bible such as “Moving Mountains” from Saint Paul.

Performance history:
April 22, 2012 Kyle Haust Senior Recital
8 pm, Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Theatre
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL
Oct 21, 2007

Luisiana State University (LSU) Percussion Ensemble Concert
7pm, LSU Recital Hall
!Winner of LSU Percussion Ensemble Composition Competition!

Dec 23, 2006 "metal...stone...being...cracked" Alan Chan Composition Recital (multimedia presentation with Gino Ng)
Feb 24-26, 2005 University of Texas - San Antonio Percussion Ensemble, at the SCI Region VI conference (Director: Sherry Rubins)
Oct 18, 2004 University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory Percussion Ensemble (Director: James Snell)
Nov 4, 2003

Eastman School of Music Percussion Ensemble, Eastman Theatre, Rochester, New York
John Beck / director

May 1, 2003 St. Olaf College Percussion Ensemble, Urness Recital Hall, Northfield, Minnesota
Apr 11-12, 2003 at the SCI Region VIII conference, Ellensburg, Washington
Mar 8, 2003 St. Olaf Percussion Ensemble, at the SCI Region V conference, St. Paul, Minnesota
Nov 6, 2002 STOP Percussion Ensemble, at the MUSICA DANUBIANA Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia
** Europe premiere
Oct 21, 2002 University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory Percussion Ensemble (Director: James Snell)
May 23, 2002 Received "Honorable Mention" from Morton Gould Young Composer Competition
ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Concert Music Awards Ceremony
New York City, New York
Mar 21, 2002 Imagine 2002, University of Memphis, Tennessee; U of M Percussion Ensemble
** World premiere


open OPEN (1999) for percussion trio
Available for purchase on

It was originally composed for a student theater production called Open, directed by Gino Ng in Lehigh University.  This music appears in the beginning of the play as an overture.  The idea came from the methods of communication between humans in prehistoric time using drums.  A contrast would be the way we communicate using the Internet by typing into the computer.

Performance history:

April 17, 2012

Mars Hill College Percussion Ensemble Concert
7:30 pm, Moore Auditorium
Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, NC


Jazz Big Band

Rene's Barcarolle (2009) for Jazz orchestra 9'

This piece is originally a musical setting of a text by French philosopher and poet Rene Daumal (1908-1944), and was premiered at Emily Mast’s thesis installation, Everything, Nothing, Something, Always (Walla!), at the Roski School of Fine Arts in Los Angeles. The Jazz Big Band version was completed in March 2009 in Brooklyn, New York.

Je suis mort parce que je n'ai pas le desir; 
Je n'ai pas le desir parce que je crois posseder; 
Je crois posseder parce que je n'essaie pas de donner;
Essayant de donner, je vois que je n'ai rien; 
Voyant que je n'ai rien, j'essaie de me donner; 
Essayant de me donner, je vois que je ne suis rien; 
Voyant que je ne suis rien, j'essaie de devenir;
Essayant de devenir, je vis.
~ Rene Daumal (1944)

I am dead because I have no desire,
I have no desire because I think I possess,
I think I possess because I do not try to give;
Trying to give, we see we have nothing,
Seeing that we have nothing, we try to give ourselves,
Trying to give ourselves, we see we are nothing,
Seeing that we are nothing, we desire to become,
Desiring to become, we live…
~ Rene Daumal (1944)

Shrimp Tale (2005-07) for Jazz orchestra 8' MP3 (premiere performance, climax)
Ryan Lerman, guitar; Matt Rubin, trumpet; USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra (director: Shelly Berg)

I dedicated this uplifting piece to my cousin, in hope of making her feel better while she was recovering from a difficult divorce. Shrimp Tale is a recollection of life in Miami, where I lived for three years, and the diverse and vibrant culture there. It has a curvy narrative structure that includes two contrasting thematic elements: a groove-based 5/4-meter passage and a Salsa tune that are first exposed in short passages and are juxtaposed against each other. Various thematic transformations bring out different meanings for each element, often with a sense of humor or irony.The tensions created by this dichotomy begin to ease in the later part of the piece, when the previous ideas start to relate to each other in a series of events, and ultimately bring the piece to a happy ending.

Performance history:
June 14, 2007

International Jazz Composers' Symposium, new music reading session
Ssoponsored by the University of South Florida Center for Jazz Composition in partnership with BMI
with Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge

Feb 5, 2007

Alan Chan Jazz Composition Recital at USC
7:30pm, Alfred Newman Recital Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Alan Chan / conductor; TJO - USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra (music director: Shelly Berg)

Moving to a New Capital (2006/07) for Jazz orhcestra 12' MP3 (premiere performance, towards the end)
Kari Harris, Trombone; Alan Chan, conductor; USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra (director: Shelly Berg)

The original Chinese title of this work, Qian Dao Yuan*, literally means “Moving-Capital-Blues.”? This piece is a composer’s reflection on the severe pollution in Beijing, the capital of China. The number of infamous dust storms has increased and intensified in recent years, due to soil erosion and desert expansion created by over-harvesting during the Cultural Revolution (1968-78).? In addition, industrial and urban pollutants from factories and cars have worsened the air quality.? Over-population and industrialization have also caused water shortages in the region.? In 2002, the former prime minister of China, Zhu Yong Ji, warned that moving to a new capital may be the only option if no action is taken soon.
* It is also a pun on a title of a famous novel Chin Gong Yuan, which talks about the political conflicts in the imperial household of the late Chin dynasty.

Performance history:
Feb 5, 2007

Alan Chan Jazz Composition Recital at USC
7:30pm, Alfred Newman Recital Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Alan Chan / conductor; TJO - USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra (music director: Shelly Berg)

Peanut Noir (2005) for Jazz ensemble 6'

Nica's Dream (Horace Silver, Arr. Alan Chan) (2001) for   MP3
Final project of Jazz arranging class, read by Concert Jazz Band of the University of Miami School of Music.

Midnight Mood (Joe Zawinul, Arr. Alan Chan) (2001) for 5 Saxs MP3
Mid-term project of Jazz arranging class, read by students from the University of Miami School of Music.


Orchestra / Concerto

Rock-Paper-Scissors (2010-11) for erhu and chamber orchestra (erhu;;;perc.;vl.,vla.,vcl.,bs.) 12'
Commissioned by
St. Matthew's Music Guild with support from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission

I have a fond memory of a game that I often plated when I was a child: Rock-Paper-Scissors. It is a simple yet exciting game when it involves a group of children – finding out who can be the ultimate winner of this game, which will be named “the king”! With a little bit of strategic thinking, some kids have advanced this game through observing patterns of players, eye contact, etc. I recalled that I may have named “the king” a handful of times, but the energy and atmosphere is what I intended to capture in this piece.

The role of erhu (a standard version of a two-string Chinese fiddle) in this piece is partly the narrator, partly as the source of interaction with the ensemble. The comic nature of the music is juxtaposed with a slightly melancholy timbre of erhu – sometimes as a commentator and sometimes as a participant. A rain broke out towards the end, and the joy and laughter generated from the players give way to the sound of nature…

Performance history

June 10, 2011

Los Angeles County Arts / St. Matthew's Music Guild Joint Commission
Rock-Paper-Scissors for chamber orchestra and erhu
** World premiere

Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew's
Thomas Neenan, Music Director
Henry Wang, Erhu
8 pm, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
Pacific Palisades, CA
***Watch on YouTube


Daughter's Lullaby (2006/07) for voice and orchestra (voice;;;t+2p;hp;str.) 5'
Courtney Huffman, voice; Joshua Roach, conductor; USC Thornton Symphony

2008 University of Southern California New Music for Orchestra Concert Selection
2009 SCI CD Series under Capstone Records Selection (release date: 2012)

Performance history

March 30, 2008

Classical KUSC (FM91.5) of Los Angeles
8-9pm Thornton Center Stage program #248
Host: Alan Chapman
USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra
Courtney Huffman / voice; Donald Crockett / conductor

Feb 17, 2008

Fort Worth Symphony Composer Workshop
3-9 p.m., Van Cliburn Recital Hall, Fort Worth, TX

Feb 7, 2008

New Music for Orchestra Concert
USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra
Courtney Huffman / voice; Donald Crockett / conductor
7:30pm, Bovard Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA


Burlesque (2004) for orchestra  12'
- Winner, 2004 Concerto Aria Competition, University of Missouri - Kansas City
available for purchase on Amazon

Burlesque is a form of cabaret show, complete with underdressed dancers and strip-tease elements, and was popular from the 1860s through the 1950s.  Burlesque is currently undergoing a bit of a revival, and the composer was intrigued with the humorous skits, fancy costumes and the frank, corny jokes (mostly about sex). 
The spirit of burlesque – a fast-moving panorama of entertaining events – is at the heart of this musical work, which features multi-ethnic and vernacular elements. Various forms of the scale are used to weave together such diverse musics as ancient Chinese ritual music and exotic gypsy circus fanfare, creating a modern burlesque, or an anarchical postmodern collage.

Performance history:
3/16 University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra
at the Concerto-Aria Competition Winners Concert
** World premiere
Jason Reinhardt / conductor

Composition (2) (Etenraku) (2000) for orchestra MP3  
Not long ago I began to be aware of music of my own heritage and for the first time, I incorporated it, as well as my recently discovered uses of color, into my own music.  Composition (2) is an orchestral adaptation of a piece of Gagaku music called Etenraku, Japanese ancient court music adopted from China during the Tang Dynasty (6-8th Century). It was read by University of Miami Symphony Orchestra.

Île de feu (2005, Olivier Messiaen, Orch. Alan Chan) for orchestra


Chinese Instruments

Bitter Melon (2008) for erhu and pipa 13'
(Commissioned by Melody of China)

The inspiration of this piece came from a refreshing experience of having a cup of bitter melon juice at a night market in Taipei in Summer 2008. Bitter melon is known for its strong bitterness and its curious shape. It is a popular fruit being used in cuisines around the world and it has many culinary uses – juice, stir fry, sundry, and even curry sauce. This piece is hardly metaphoric if one has never eaten this magical fruit, so there is a little action during the piece to give us some clues. The music also explores the unusual timbre and dynamics of pipa and erhu. This piece is dedicated to my dear friend, Julia Poon.

Performance history:

June 4, 2011 Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
** Asian Premiere
8 pm, Sheung Wan Civic Auditorium
Hong Kong, China
Oct. 24, 2008

Melody of China - Young Composers Series
8pm, Old First Church, San Francisco
** World Premiere
Wang Hong / erhu; Gou Wanpeng / sheng; Zhao Gangqin / zheng; Zhao Yangqin / yangqin

Acala (2007) for quartet of Chinese instruments (sheng, zheng, yangqin, erhu) 12' MP3 (premiere performance, from the beginning)
(Commissioned by Melody of China)

In Vajrayana Biddhism, Acala is the best known of the Five Wisdom Kings of the Womb Realm.? Acala means “The Immovable One” in Sanskrit.? In Japan he is also worshiped in the form of the fierce Fudo Myo-o, whose duty it is to combat evil and to take charge of the soul after death.? His immovability refers to his ability to remain unmoved by carnal temptations. Despite his fearsome appearance, his role is to aid all beings by showing them the teachings of the Buddha, leading them into self-control.? He is also seen as a protector and aide in attaining goals. Temples dedicated to Acala perform a periodic fire ritual in devotion to him.
This one-movement piece uses erhu, yangqin, sheng and guzheng to represents his fearsome image.? It is done by a reoccurring tutti theme, characterized by rapid passages.? The tutti sections are often intervened by expressive solo passages, which represent the different temptations of the human kind.

Performance history:
July 7, 2007 Melody of China - Young Composers Series
7pm, Tateuchi Hall, Community School of Music and Arts, Mountain View, CA
May 25, 2007

Melody of China - Young Composers Series
8pm, Old First Church, San Francisco
** World Premiere
Wang Hong / erhu; Gou Wanpeng / sheng; Zhao Gangqin / zheng; Zhao Yangqin / yangqin

Chanson (2005) for sheng solo 7' MP3 (climax)
Loo Sze Wang, Sheng

Performance history:
Feb 21, 2008

Radio Television Hong Kong Channel 4 (RTHK4), "Silk and Bamboo" program
Chanson 笙歌 (2004-6) for 21-pipe sheng
** World Broadcasting Premiere
Loo Sze- Wang / sheng

Chanson is featured between [16:15] and [24:05] (Duration: 8 mins. 50 sec.)



Victoria Dispensary (2010) for Hexnut 9' Youtube (premiere performance)
(Commissioned by the Walden School)
Ned McGowan, flute/contrabass flute
Gijs Levelt, trumpet
Ere Lievonen, piano
Susanna Borsch, recorder/contrabass recorder
Stephanie Pan, voice

- Victoria Dispensary is an old drug store established in Hong Kong during the British Colonial Era.
- In the middle section of the piece, a song written and published on the American West Coast named "Ching, Chow, Chung" is quoted, this song is a parody of the Cantonese language, a southern Chinese dialect spoken among many Chinese immigrants.
- Besides gibberish lyrics, a Cantonese curse word ?? (pronunce as: po(ke) guy) is also used, together with the use of toy hammer, creates an animated image of villain hitting, an old folk sorcery practice in Hong Kong. Cantonese profanity is seldom used in the Contemporary Classical music.
- At the end of the piece, a radio commercial can be heard with the voice announcing: “ You are listening to “Victoria Dispensary” by Alan Chan.

Performance history:
July 16, 2010

Walden School Young Musicianship Program Concert Series
Dublin School, Dublin, New Hempshire
Victoria Dispensary

** World Premiere

Des Voeux (2007) for violin and cello 10' MP3 (premiere performance, from the beginning)
(Commissioned by Arts and Culture Development Fund with the support of Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong)
David Leung, Violin; Letty Poon, Cello

This work is a tribute to Ravel’s Duo for violin and cello.? Like Ravel’s Duo, it is a piece with a heavy emotional content, and includes many advance writings for both instruments.? Des Væux was the governor of colonial Hong Kong (1887-1891) and the name of a street in memory of him, which now located in the center of the financial district in Hong Kong.? A French surname, Des Væux can be translated as “wishes.”? The piece starts with a somber fugal subject on cello.? With the violin joining, the intensity gradually increases until a repetitive and aggressive motive abruptly takes over in the middle of the movement.? After a dream-like transition, it closes with a peaceful hymn and with the returning fugue subject at the very end.

Q (2006) for wind quintet 7' MP3 (ending of 5th mvt.)
(Commissioned by Composers' Forum of the East)

Composition 1 (2000) for string quintet and harp MP3
The idea of this piece came from the Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No.5.  The make up of the String Quintet, which consists of two violins, a viola and two cellos, was used in Franz Schubert’s String Quintet in C major.  Two cellos are used instead of one, which darkens the overall sound quality of the piece.

Composition 0 (2000) for woodwind quintet and percussion MP3
This is the first piece I have ever written, which involves a great deal of planning in terms of forms, texture, pitch organizations and timbre control.In this piece, I applied a lot of techniques that I learned during my stay in Vienna studying with Michael Jarrell.Through working with the members of the Other Music Ensemble, much potential in this combination was discovered and used in this piece.The sounds of each individual instrument are merged together and transformed from one color to another.



Queen Sonnets (2010) for voice and piano (text: Nicky Schildkraut) 10'
(dedicated to Courtney Huffman and Tali Tadmor)

Performance history:

July 4, 2010

National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Conference
soprano Courtney Huffman and pianist Tali Tadmor
** World Premiere

Beautiful Rebirth (2008) for voice and piano (text: Ho Wen-Hsiung) 6'
(Commissioned by Lin-lin Chang Bel Canto Theatre)

A Spirit's Dream (2006) for voice and piano (text: Ho Wen-Hsiung) 6'MP3 (interlude)
(Commissioned by Lin-lin Chang Bel Canto Theatre)

Courtney Huffman, voice; Alan Chan, piano

California Plate I (2006) for voice and piano (text: Victoria Chang) 4'

December Light (2006/8) for bass voice, clarinet, cello and piano (text: Andrew Allport) 8'

December Light (2006) for voice and piano (text: Andrew Allport) 6'

Haikus (2006) for voice and piano (text: Nicky Schildkraut) 5'

Two songs for sporano and piano (1999) 6'
I am Nobody, Who Are You? (Dickinson) / Gretel in Darkness (Gluck)



Waltz (2005) for solo bass clarinet 11'

Performance history:
May 19

Miguel Duran DMA Clarinet Recital
**New version premiere

7:30pm, Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC, Los Angeles, CA

Mar 26, 2005

USC Composers' Showcase
** World premiere
Miguel Duran / bass clarinet


Works in progress

If the Owl Calls Again / Chow Fun Mean / All Friends for jazz big band

* To obtain score and parts under Alan Chan Music Publishing, please email me at

Last updated: 3.14.2013