Wang, Ying

About the work

Kirin is a sound experiment in four parts, each with a leader and a follower. Kirin (CheeLin / Qilin), an ancient Chinese mythical creature, has the head of a dragon and the body of a deer. They breathe fire and live for 2000 years. However, unlike the monsters of the West, Qilin are not feared in China. On the contrary, people recognized in this seemingly fearsome beast an untamed energy—not a destructive one, but a life-giving one—thus making the Qilin a symbol of good fortune and a harbinger of hope.

It is believed that the literary and mythological origin of the Qilin is based on sightings of giraffes. The unknown African animal, likely brought to China by merchants from Somalia in the 15th century, became an omnipresent Chinese symbol. Today, Qilin adorn flags, doors, and various talismans. The origin story of the Qilin is thus rooted in a historical and geographical transformation and migration.

Ying Wang’s ‘Qilin’ embarks on yet another transformative journey. Starting from rhythmic patterns that accompany the Qilin in Chinese music, Wang constructs an invigorating, exhilarating pulse that meanders along intricate paths, eventually converging with the sound and rhythm of the Western percussion tradition.

The Qilin undergo changes, assuming human traits, beginning to coexist among us. They engage in dialogue with us, as if they had always been at home here. They change their names based on language and location. What might sound like ‘modernization’ is, in fact, an auditory exploration of
origin and transformation that does not simply have ‘one direction.’ The musics and cultures of the world have been in a melding migration towards one another for centuries—every music is a chimera.


The instrumentation of this piece is very specific. The musicians are divided in four groups, each with a leader and a follower in the following manner:

Group 1: Pro: Flute
Followers – Flutes and oboes
Group 2: Pro: Clarinet in Bb
Followers – Clarinet, Fago7s, Tubas
Group 3 : Pro: Electric Guitar
Folllowers – Violins and Violas
Group 4 : Pro: Double Bass
Followers – Violoncelli, Doublebass


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score & parts


Sample score



0m 00s




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