“...a breath of fresh air on our musical landscape”
- The Straits Times
"...music from a voice of the future"
- BBC Radio 3
Nature is often a source of inspiration in Zhangyi's music. For instance, in orchestral works like Rain Tree, Vanda (violin concerto), and Of An Ethereal Symphony that was commissioned by SSO for their Europe tour in 2016. Water, a choral setting of Cultural Medallion Recipient KTM Iqbal’s poem was recorded on Singapore Symphony Children’s Choir’s album - And I’ll Sing Once More. The theme of nature also permeate keyboard works such as Walks on Water (a mini piano concerto), and Clima a solo piano work written to raise awareness of climate change.
In multi-disciplinary projects, Zhangyi explores the musical representation of Singaporean culture. Laksa Cantata, Window Shopping, and Kopi For One form a chamber opera cycle (A Singapore Trilogy) that is inspired by Singaporean obsessions of food, shopping and coffee. The L'arietta production of A Singapore Trilogy was named one of the best classical events of 2018 by The Straits Times.
Creatively researching musical syncretism within an East-Asian cultural context, the (Triple) Concerto for Erhu, Ruan, Percussion and Ensemble《三人行》was composed for the YST Conservatory Orchestra for its tour to Seoul in 2019, led by conductor Jason Lai. The featured soloists and collaborators were Likie Low (erhu), Sulwyn Lok (zhongruan), and Yuru Lee (paigu and marimba).
Zhangyi was conferred the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council (Singapore) in 2014. His work Ariadne's Love was one of the winning works of the Abbey Road Studios Anthem Competition, recorded by London Symphony and Eric Whitacre Singers.
He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Analysis and Composition at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, where he teaches analysis, composition, and led the new music ensemble OpusNovus from 2016-18. Zhangyi also plays violin and viola with Red Dot Baroque.