Xiao, Shuxian [Hsiao, Shu-sien]
- Joyce Lindorff
(b Tianjin, April 9, 1905; d Beijing, Nov 26, 1991). Chinese composer and educator. She was a prizewinning graduate of the Brussels Conservatoire Royale de Musique in 1932. From 1935 to 1954 she was married to the conductor Hermann Scherchen; the composer Tona Scherchen is their daughter. During the 1930s and 40s she spent 14 years in Switzerland, where she worked as a composer and was influential in promoting Chinese culture in Europe through her lectures and writings.
Her Chinese Children’s Suite and the orchestral suite Huainian Zuguo were among the first works by a Chinese composer to become known in the West. Her style combines Chinese folk materials with Western techniques, a concept later developed in her teaching of polyphony. In 1950, motivated by a desire to contribute to her country’s development, she returned to China with her three children. From that time until her death she taught composition at the Central Conservatory in Beijing, where she was regarded as inspirational to generations of Chinese composers. In addition to teaching, composing and writing, Xiao’s lifelong involvement with polyphony included translations into Chinese of Lendvai’s book on Bartók’s form and harmony (Beijing, ...