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November 4, 2014

The Flute View

However, my favorite piece on the program was "Tracing Back" by Shen Yiwen. The piece, played by Brad Garner, was originally written for Chinese dizi flute, and the composer gave Dr. Garner a special arrangement for transverse flute. The Chinese melodies and style of dizi flute were very apparent in the piece, and Dr. Garner imitated the sound of the Chinese flute perfectly throughout the piece.

June 1, 2011

The New York Times

Next was “Clarinet Concerto” by Shen Yiwen, 25, a student at the Juilliard School in New York, a lyrical play between clarinet and orchestra with cinematic overtones.
--Didi Kirsten Tatlow

April 18, 2011

The New York Times

Mr. Shen set six poems by Li Po with a lucid, economical lyricism handed down by Barber and Rorem. 
--Steve Smith

​March 18, 2011

The New York Times

The program opened with “Three Songs of Emily Dickinson,” by Shen Yiwen, a vibrant setting of three poems, including “So give me back to Death,” expressively sung by Dusica Bijelic.
--Vivien Schweitzer

January 25, 2011

The New York Times

The inspiration for Shen Yiwen’s Quintet for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2008) came from two ancient Chinese poems. “Guo Shang: Hymn to the Fallen” is an elegy for dead soldiers, with gentle piano chords solemnly played here by Blair McMillen. In “Li Hun: Recessional” the players scampered through a jaunty, vibrantly scored canvas.
--Vivien Schweitzer

January 24, 2011

Seen and Heard International

Shen Yiwen was the impeccable pianist.
--Bruce Hodges

January 23, 2011

The New York Times

Zygmunt Krauze’s dense, eventful “Terra Incognita” (1994) is hardly as consonant or as meditative as Mr. Kilar’s work, and the occasional appearance of a solo piano line, played deftly by Shen Yiwen, gives it great textural variety.
--Allan Kozinn

October 29, 2010

Skidmore News

Shen Yiwen's composition, "How Happy Some O'er Other Some Can Be!" showed a more symbiotic relationship between music and text. The equal balance allowed the listener to appreciate both elements as well as notice how they worked in conjunction. Shen put ironic twists on excerpts from Mendelssohn's incidental music to emphasize the text's themes.
Right after the actress playing Helena spoke of her foiled marriage plans with Demetrius, the orchestra played a distorted version of the famed Wedding March, taking the jubilant first few chords and twisting them into hectic unhappiness.
--Samanthan Hoffmann

October 23, 2010

The Times Union

Yiwen's was the most far-reaching dramatically and began with an audacious quote of Mendlessohn's opening chords.
--Joseph Dalton

April 29, 2010

Woodstock Times

It's hard to think of a more demanding program for a pianist than two late Beethoven Sonatas and Tsontakis's massive Ghost Variations. Yet Shen was completely up to the task. Unlike some composers whose playing is insightful but otherwise just functional, Shen is an excellent performer. His tonal quality was exceptionally beautiful, and he played the music with complete command of its technique and emotional content. His contrasts in the Prestissimo of the Sonata No. 30, Op.109, were appropriately wild, and the beautiful final movement ended in ecstasy. Without pause he then launched into the Sonata No.32, Op.111, which he played with extraordinary poise and dynamics. The Ghost Variations is extremely demanding of a pianist's technique and comprehension. I know it only through Stephen Hough's recording (not a bad way to get to know any piano music!) Shen's performance seemed completely confident and assured, and he made the piece sound extremely colorful.
--Leslie Gerber

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