Tona Scherchen

also Tona Scherchen-Hsiao (Simplified Chinese: 萧桐; born 12 March 1938 in Neuchâtel), composer. She is one of the first composers who brought Chinese elements into European avant-garde art music. Tona Scherchen was born into a musical family in Switzerland. Her father was conductor Hermann Scherchen and her mother was composer Xiao Shuxian. She spent the first 12 years of her life in Europe, particularly in Switzerland. She arrived in China in 1950 with her mother and her older sister Féfé. In 1956, just a year before China fell into political chaos, she returned to Europe to be with her father in order to pursue further music education. Her teachers included György Ligeti and Hans Werner Henze. Soon after since the 1960s, Scherchen had become an active composer. Titles of her music were frequently seen in contemporary music programs. Her works were published by prominent publishers and several articles on her as a composer can be found. Although, after some starred appearances in the 1980s, she seemingly had ceased to catch attention beyond her French circle. Scherchen's music is an adaption of the avant-garde idioms of the European 1960s, '70s, synthesized with a language of her own. Many of her compositions bear Chinese titles, but the influence of Chinese arts and thoughts is more conceptual than literal. The only exception is Yi, a suite for one marimba with two players, in which she recalled folk tunes heard in her Chinese years; it is a moving piece, dedicated to her mother, whom Tona probably was not able to meet for three decades due to political reasons.
Selected works: Radar, for piano 1983; L'invitation au voyage, for chamber orchestra, 1979;  Escargots volants  (Flying Snails), for clarinet solo, 1979; Once Upon a Time, for harp, 1979; Lo, for trombone solo and 12 stringed instruments, 1978–1979; Ziguidor, for woodwind quintet, 1978; Œil de chat (1st Cycle), for orchestra, 1976–1977; Tao,  for viola solo and orchestra, 1971–1972; Tzi, for 16 voices (SATB) a cappella, diapason and gong grave, 1969–1970; Wai (外),  for mezzo-soprano with percussion and string quartet, 1967.
Publishers: Universal Edition, Boosey & Hawkes, Alfred Peschek and Amphion.
Recordings: Several recordings have been commercially issued but today only Lo for trombone and strings, and Shen for six percussionists, can be found on CD, despite all her music being available in print.