Darren Xu is a Chinese Canadian composer who is currently completing the Artist Diploma in Composition at the Royal College of Music. He enjoys writing music for acoustic instruments, electronics, films, and other cross-disciplinary collaborations. Darren Xu has had the opportunity to work with various ensembles, including Standing Wave, Piano-Erhu Project (PEP), Trio Immersio, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, and Rose Geller String Quartet. His first orchestral composition, To Liberate, was premiered by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Winnipeg New Music Festival in January 2023, and was subsequently performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. His piano trio, with love, I will get to you, was premiered by Trio Immersio at the Iceberg Institute in Vienna, and later performed at the Sonic Boom festival in Vancouver.
Photo by Sofia Ouyang
With the help of Soundstreams’ RBC Bridges Program, his percussion quartet, Into the Wilderness – an Open Conversation, was performed by TorQ Percussion Quartet in Toronto in October 2022. As a member of the ACTOR Project, Darren’s ensemble piece, Prayers and Curses, was premiered at the CORE Project Concert at McGill University by the Composer-Performer Orchestration Research Ensemble. Having recently been exposed to electronic music, a number his multimedia pieces for electronics, visuals, and dancers were premiered at the Bang! Festival at UBC in 2023. Darren’s graphic scores have been featured at the Telus Studio Centre and the Belkin Art Gallery.
Darren’s collaborations with the Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow culminated in performances of his music as parts of installations and showcase Debra’s Salish weavings, which took place at venues across Vancouver, such as the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Christ Church Cathedral, and the Vancouver international Airport. His film score, Stargazer, was awarded Best Score by New York Film Awards in November 2018.
Darren began studying piano at age 5 and began composing at the age of 19. He enjoys teaching piano as well as music theory, and was a teaching assistant of aural skills at UBC School of Music. Having spent his childhood in Guangzhou China and Vancouver Canada, Darren is inspired by the different languages he came across. He received a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Music, and a Master of Music in Composition from UBC.