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    卓越 (zhuó yuè), aka. Jerry Zhuo, is a composer from Xiamen, China currently living in the UK. He received a PhD in Music Composition from Cardiff University School of Music. His study was covered by a full studentship, and he was supervised by award-winning composer Prof Arlene Sierra.  His recent artistic activity revolves mostly around his continuing research in defining a personal identity out of the prevailing postmodern Chinese culture he was born into, and negotiation with ‘Chineseness’ — the cultural stereotype — that he started to encounter after moving to the UK 12 years ago.

    A predominant feature of Jerry’s music is theatricality which is clearly inspired by his Minnan Chinese culture. Evidence of the quotes and ‘misreads’ of such culture can be found in aspects such as rhythm, texture, structure and the use of vocalisation and special instruments in his pieces. Recent compositional outcomes have been described as ‘evocative’ and ‘deeply personal’ by audiences. These include Wei, an electroacoustic work for UPROAR Ensemble, commissioned by Ty Cerdd; Suffocation for the game controller and plastic bags processed by Max-MSP, commissioned by Three Shadows art gallery, Xiamen; and Door Gods for two percussionists, which won its second performance on 2018 China-Wales Mid-Autumn Festival concert.

    Jerry's life experience has much influence on his artistic interests. He started off self-learning composition when he was 11, until being discovered by Mingfang Wu, conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Xiamen Foreign Language School. Wu encouraged Jerry to join the orchestra as a double bassist, where he would be learning composition and orchestration by working with Wu and the orchestra for the next 4 years. Such training was immediately fruitful: his first orchestral work was premiered in 2008 when he was 15; a year later, he produced his first award-winning musical drama which was broadcasted on local television.

    The year 2010 marks an important change in Jerry's life as he moved to the UK. It was also around this time that his ever-lasting enquiry over issues of self-identity began. The first two years of music studies at St John's College, Cardiff with Diana Neville and Dominic Neville really pointed him toward a career as a composer. However, it did not happen straight away. For the next four years, Jerry would be studying a BSc Economics in the University of Bath, and then an MSc International Management at the London School of Economics. Such experience in a very different subject field did not steer Jerry away from music; rather, he continued to find fresh perspectives on composition, and soon this would make him realise the urgency of returning to his true call of life.

    In 2016, Jerry made his move and was accepted by Cardiff University School of Music with an AHSS scholarship to study MA Music (composition). He was immediately recognised as one of the most active student composers in Cardiff. And his true passion for composition quickly balanced off the disadvantage of not having received a music education at the undergraduate level. A year later, he received a MA degree with distinction, and subsequently a full-studentship offer to achieve a PhD in the same institution. There, he combined his knowledge as a composer, performer, and conductor in the production of very different works and music experiences. He was the music director of Cardiff University Strings (2018-20), and the music director of Cardiff University Concert Orchestra (2019-20). He is the co-founder of the Hooting Cow Collective and the Pavilion Ensemble, both are contemporary music ensembles located in the UK.

    As for now, Jerry is busy adapting to his new role as the Lecturer in Composition at Cardiff University. He is keen on facilitating the exchange of cultures and music education across countries. For that, he has recently been promoted to the Deputy Director of International Engagement, and he anticipates more comprehensive collaborations with musicians and music institutes around the world.


After conducting the 2019 spring concert  of Cardiff University Strings


Jerry performs his own composition 'Dream Nostalgic'  at Three Shadow ​Gallery, Xiamen. (August 2019)


Performed his first large-scale musical work, 'Goodbye Zoo'.

Xiamen Television Station, 2009.


Conducting together with his mentor Mingfang Wu.

​The Youth Orchestra of XMFLS 10th Anniversary Concert.


Presenting at the Music Since 1900 Conference, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 2022

Background: Kulangsu, Xiamen (Amoy)

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