The music of Chen Zhangyi has been described by The Straits Times as “a breath of fresh air on our musical landscape” and dubbed by BBC Radio 3 as “music from a voice of the future.” He has also collaborated with ensembles such as London Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de Bretagne, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, Imani Winds, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble among others.
His dramatic works Window Shopping, Laksa Cantata explore the musical representation of vernacular and cosmopolitan themes. For his instrumental works, nature is a source of inspiration, as shown in Rain Tree, Sand Sketches, Vanda (violin concerto), and 'of an ethereal symphony' commissioned by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra for their Europe tour 2016.
He read music at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (NUS) and Peabody Institute (Johns Hopkins University). His composition mentors include Kevin Puts, Thomas Benjamin, Michael Hersch and Peter Edwards; his conducting teachers include Harlan Parker and John Boyd. In 2014, Zhangyi was awarded both the Paul Abisheganaden Grant for Artistic Excellence by National University of Singapore, and the Young Artist Award by The National Arts Council.
Zhangyi taught music at Peabody Institute, and currently teaches Composition, Theory, and conducts the New Music Ensemble at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (National University of Singapore). He also performs on the violin and viola with Charm City Baroque (2012-15) and Baltimore Baroque Band (2009-2015).
In his free time, Zhangyi enjoys traveling and good food.