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Walks on Water 


Abridged version, 2015. 

YST alumni musicians

Li Churen, piano
Chen Zhangyi, conductor

Complete version, 2021. 

Ensemble Æquilibrium

Bertram Wee, piano 

Lien Boon Hua, conductor

"In the ubiquitous Chen Zhangyi's Walks On Water, there was a return to the delicate aesthetics of Takemitsu. This time, the obbligato piano dominated, where Clarence Lee churned out ripples upon waves in a piano concerto in miniature recounting the messianic miracle of Jesus Christ levitating on the Sea of Galilee."

- The Straits Times (Chang, 2015)


solo piano, flute, clarinet in Bb, percussion (bd., t.t., vib., glock., sizzle cym., large sus. cym.), violin, violoncello

[alternative instrumentation:  percussion (see above), solo piano]

(See Walks, for a solo piano version of Walks On Water)

Duration: 8' 30"

This work is essentially a mini-concerto for piano and chamber ensemble. I first came across the phrase “walks on water” when a colleague was describing the Swiss conductor Gustav Meier as a reverent figure. This of course refers to the image of Jesus walking on water, in various biblical passages (Matthew 14:25, Mark 6:48, and John 6:19). It formed the inspiration for the flowing textures created by the piano in combination with atmospheric and undulating contours from the ensemble.


2021 - Ensemble Æquilibrium (Singapore) SIFA Festival 'Echoes of Fire and Water'. Premiere of complete version by pianist Bertram Wee led by conductor Lien Boon Hua.

2019 - Pianist Nicholas Loh performed a solo piano version 'Walks' at the Project IDIOM, through 'The Future of Our Pasts' Festival (Yale-NUS)

2018, 2015 - Pianist Churen Li performed the chamber version at the NUS commencement 2015, as well as the 2018 Voyage Festival with fellow YST alumni musicians conducted by the composer.

2015 - The sinfonia version was premiered by pianist Clarence Lee and the YST New Music Ensemble led by Chan Tze Law. 

2014 - An early version of this work was performed by the Italian group Alter Ego led by Peter Eötvös at the International Bartók Music Festival in Hungary.

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