“Your piece ‘Lament’ is just as urgent and powerful as I remember–moreso,
even!  Such a beautiful combination of structural integrity and passion.” 


“Your piece “Reflection on a Tang Poem” is just lovely―a poetic and shapely masterpiece.  It is beautifully paced and proportioned, yet sounds quite spontaneous in its expression―This is so hard to achieve! I find the climax especially stirring, and brilliantly written for the piano―almost like Gershwin at his best  (I have always admired Gershwin’s dazzling piano writing).  Better yet, the piece actually DOES what your program notes describe―and how rare that is, too. Finally, it’s so nice to listen to a piece by a composer who allows himself to write beautiful and emotionally expressive music, counting the impressionists as well as Chinese folk music in his ancestry; most composers nowadays keep trying to be clever, or complicated, or aggressively dissonant.  But you’re a real poet.”

Elinor Armer

Composer, Founder of SF Conservatory Composition Department



I highly recommend the excellent piano work “Reflection on a Tang Poem.” It stands out marvelously for its novelty among the music compositions of the same genre on the subject. My wholehearted congratulations to the composer!

Wang Xilin

Renowned Chinese composer


“Chinese composer Young’s “Reflections on a Tang Poem” is an interesting, atmospheric piece. While one might think of Debussy and Chopin, the pentatonic scale-based modes and the Tang dynasty poem point to a Chinese influence.”

American Record Guide


“Now sit down at a piano at midnight. Hit the soft pedal, use your cat’s paws and push-out  enormous sustained chords with as many fingers as you can come up with.  Sooner or later you’ll begin to think you are Debussy. That’s the spirit of romance we find in Phil Young’s Reflection on a Tang Poem. The poem itself evokes a still harbor at midnight. Indeed, La cathedrale engloutie sprang to mind, even before I read the notes. A very evocative dreamscape. But like Schumann, it also contains swirling fistfuls of notes–the very psychic storms which lead to the notion of the romantic era itself.”

Steven Kruger

New York Arts


  • The beauty of Yang’s first post-intermission section suppressed any thoughts of nepotism in her choosing a work that her uncle composed for her. “Reflections on a Tang Poem” (2015) by Phil Young (Yang Zhihua, b.1952) was inspired by a classic Chinese poem “Night Mooring by Maple Bridge” written by renowned Tang Dynasty poet Zhang Ji. It evokes a nostalgic memory of quiet waters under a bridge in the moonlight and mixes Chinese folk themes using a pentatonic scale with suggestions of such traditional instruments as a pipa.
  • Yang’s performance was scintillating as she brought out all the pointillistic effects in this shimmering tapestry in sound. (A recorded performance by this artist may be enjoyed on her fine recording “Folding Time” on Albany Records, Troy1572).

 Classical Voice of North Carolina


“In my collaboration with pianist Clara Yang, premiering Phil Young’s “Nostalgia” a few years back and again at this concert, we keep discovering more depth and complex emotional intensity the composer has shared generously through his music. It is a piece of jewel dazzling with technical virtuosity. I enjoy playing it every time.” –  

Helen Z. Altenbach

Cellist of LA Opera Orchestra


“Young provides modern string textures with harmonics and considerable orchestral variety, in mildly dissonant surroundings.  And he does so in dramatic fashion.  When pentatonic passages occur, they are tastefully blended.  Obviously he worked hard to be stylistically consistent. Bravo!”

San Francisco Classical Voice  



  “Young’s lushly romantic score, in particular, is highly effective in giving the   work a kind of filmic grandeur that the choreography sometimes lacks…”                                                                                                 

                                 – San  Jose Mercury News                                                                                          

“CPAA resident composer Phil Young provided music that not only laid the platform upon which the dancers could emote, but could easily stand alone as an outstanding modern work.  It’s an Epic!”

 – Inside Bay Area

“Composer Phil Young ran with it, completing a basic score with Chinese flavor and Western form in one proverbial brush stroke.”


” – – – Silk Empress. Meijer pours herself into the gliding, purring, sensual, East-meets-West music of Phil Young (who was in the house this performance) as if it speaks to her on every level. “


KTSF Chinese TV “Talk Tonight” (有話要說)June 2017 interview                                                                                   

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