Born in Chefoo, China, on June 29, 1923, Chou Wen-chung is now a citizen of the United States, where he has resided since 1946. Although he arrived with a degree in civil engineering to pursue architectural studies on a scholarship at Yale University, he became a student in composition at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Nicholas Slonimsky. In 1949 Chou met the late Edgard Varèse, became his pupil and friend, and later served as his literary executor.
Chou has received numerous awards, grants, and commissions, including the 1996 University of Cincinnati Award for Excellence, the 1991-92 John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award, the 1985 China Institute Qingyun Award, a Rockefeller Foundation grant, two Guggenheim fellowships, a National Institute of Arts and Letters award, a Koussevitsky Music Foundation commission, a New York State Council on the Arts commission, a National Endowment for the Arts commission, a Louisville Orchestra commission, and a commission from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University. In 1982, Chou was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Chou's compositions, published by C. F. Peters, have been performed by orchestras throughout the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre National (Paris), Sinfonica de Radio Nacional (Buenos Aires), Japan Philharmonic Symphony (Tokyo), and Central Philharmonic (Beijing). They have been featured in festivals such as International Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik (Darmstadt), La Biennale di Venezia (Venice), Berkshire Music Center (Tanglewood), International Society for Contemporary Music Festival (Hong Kong), Asian Music Festival (Tokyo-Sendai), and Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo). In 1996, the String Quartet "Clouds" premiered in New York at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, by the Brentano String Quartet.
Excerpts from the music of Chou Wen-chung:
Echoes From the Gorge (1989)
Suite for Harp & Wind Quintet (1951)
From Echoes From the Gorge (Albany Records TROY 155)
Twilight Colors (2007)