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Eli Marshall’s catalog comprises Western classical ensembles and Chinese instrumental pieces, with site-specific works at the Berlin Reichstag, the Sackler museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and South Korea’s largest Buddhist temple. His orchestral works premiered in China (including Hong Kong and Macao), Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States. He was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship (to China, 2003), the Leo Kaplan Award (ASCAP, 2005), and the Douglas Moore Fellowship (the latter placed him in educational residencies at Chicago Lyric Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and Seattle Opera, 2008-09).
In 2005, he co-founded the Beijing New Music Ensemble and was active as Artistic Director until 2010. In 2013, he curated a series of 30 works (a majority China premieres) featuring works by emerging composers born in China at Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.
He holds degrees from Bard College (Simon’s Rock), the Curtis Institute of Music, the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater, and holds a Doctor of Music degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He also studied at the Yale School of Music, the University of the Arts (Berlin), and Goddard College. Before arriving at Cornell, he taught music at the Central Conservatory (Beijing), the Witten/Herdecke University (Germany) and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
He has composed film music for Hong Kong directors Ann Hui (Golden Era, 2014, recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra) and Wong Kar-wai (Ashes of Time – Redux, Sony Classical 2009); with the latter he collaborated with sheng virtuoso and music director Wu Tong and Yoyo Ma as soloist. He also appears as conductor on the Chen Yi/Zhou Long album Wild Grass (NAXOS, 2008) and keyboardist on Elliott Sharp’s Beijing Syndakit (DATACIDE, 2014).
His recent scholarship bridges musicological and ethnomusicological methods in a study of the reception and context in Asia of Benjamin Britten’s tour there in 1956 (with papers delivered at the Britten Centenary Conference in Nottingham, 2013, and the International Council on Traditional Music – PASEA, 2014). His research interests in music theory include the notation and analysis of microtonal works, with inquiry into historical tuning systems and other precedents. His current compositional projects include a piano concerto (Meng-Chieh Liu, soloist) and a mixed ensemble of Chinese and Western instruments, as well as a chamber opera for premiere in Hong Kong in 2016.