Man-Ching Donald Yu (b.1980) is a prolific and versatile composer whose music has been actively performed internationally. The style of his recent music is characterized by the blending of post-impressionistic gestures, micropolyphonic techniques, and Chinese colors while being acclaimed by Fanfare Magazine as "forming an arresting and personal intermixing of tonal and atonal languages, with the musical colors and gestures of his native country infiltrating the mix." His orchestral works are described as "powerful," "passionate tones," "textures show a highly skilled hand at work, and the dramatic thrust is palpable," and "taut new symphonic voice."
Yu studied piano, composition, and conducting at an early
age. He earned his B.Mus. degree in piano performance and composition from
Baylor University (U.S.), studying piano with Bulgarian pianist Krassimira Jordan
(Inheritage of the Russian Piano School of Emil Gilels). Later he received a scholarship to further his composition
study with Ichiro Nodaira at the Internationale Sommerakademie der Universitaet Mozarteum Salzburg in Austria. Subsequently, he was
awarded his Ph.D. in composition and music theory under a full postgraduate
research assistantship at Hong Kong Baptist University where he worked with Christopher Keyes on his composition and theory portfolio.
Yu's versatile compositional oeuvre ranges from chamber, vocal, electroacoustic, and Chinese instrumental works to opera, concerti, choral works, and symphonies. Most of the works have been selected for premiere at various festivals and venues throughout the North and South America, Europe, and Asia such as The International Festival of Modern Art Two Days and Two Nights of New Music at the Odessa Philharmonic Theater (Ukraine), the Delhi International Arts Festival (India), the International Spring Festival at the Manoel Theatre (Malta), the International Summer Academy Mozarteum (Austria), the St. George International Music Festival (Greece), the Chernivtsi Philharmonic Hall (Ukraine), the Lugansk Philharmonic Hall (Ukraine), and the Uzhgorod Philharmonic Hall (Ukraine), etc. Yu has also received commissions and/or performances from the Uzhgorod Philharmonic Orchestra (Ukraine), the Chernivtsi Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (Ukraine), the Lugansk Philharmonic Orchestra (Ukraine), the Opera Hong Kong Chorus, the Transcarpathian Honoured Academic Folk Choir (Ukraine), the Choral Fellows of the Harvard University Choir, the New Score Chamber Orchestra (U.S.), the Onondaga Civic Symphony Orchestra (U.S.), Equinox Trio (Malta), MusicOrba (France), Duo 46 (U.S.), the Hong Kong Youth Choir, and the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, etc. Since 2007, Yu received numerous awards, scholarships, grants, and funds from various organizations for both his academic and composition achievements including those from the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Council, the Culture Institute of Macau, and ASCAP, etc. Yu's music has been published by Edizioni Sconfinarte (Italy), Helm & Baynov Verlag (Germany), Scherzo Editions (Netherlands), Wehr's Music House (U.S.), and Zimbel Press (U.S.), etc. His music is recorded on Zimbel Records (U.S.), the first personal album "Illusion" and Albany Records (U.S.), the second personal album "Surrealistic Soundscapes." As a music theorist, his music theory papers have been presented at various international music theory conferences and selected for publication in various scholarly book and peer reviewed international journals including New Sound (Serbia) and Nasledje (Serbia). His research interest focuses on Ligeti's music, post-tonal Chinese music, Set-theory, and Neo-riemannian Transformation.
Apart from mainly being a composer, Yu remains as an active performer. Since early ages, he performed a diverse repertoire and at the age of 16 he made his debut twice as a concert pianist with Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra and also earned a Licentiate Diploma (L.R.S.M.) in piano performance from the Royal Schools of Music. He has also collaborated with numerous vocalists and instrumentalists, premiering his own compositions as a pianist on stages locally and overseas. His interpretation of his own pieces is acclaimed by critics as "prowess at the keyboard" (Fanfare). Recently, Yu also appeared as a conductor conducting various ensembles, orchestras, and choir in public; from 2012 fall, he is the co-director of the HKIEd Orchestra. As a lecturer, from 2007-2010 he taught music theory and composition at Hong Kong Baptist University and the Community College of the City University of Hong Kong. In 2012 fall, he served as a full-time academic staff of the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts of the Hong Kong Institute of Education.