Ching-Shan Chang

Composer. Pianist. Orchestrator.

I am a composer based in Los Angeles specializing in creating music for film, animation, game, trailers and concert music. I was also an adjunct piano instructor at New York University, and a frequent guest lecturer at various schools, educational organizations, and venues.

As a multimedia composer, I create background music diversifying in styles, tempos, mood, and rhythms to help the visual tell stories. While having collaborated with a wide range of directors, award-winning short film Elsewhere (A Flor Azul), directed by Guilherme Pedra screened in the Short Film Corner in the 71st International Cannes Film Festival and other festivals marked the highlight of my early career. In 2019, I was humbled to be the youngest and first Asian female winner in history in the 8th International Zurich Film Music Competition to accept the Golden Eye for my score in short film, Danny and the Wild Bunch from film composer Don Davis.

In 2019, I started my internship under the mentorship of Hollywood composer, Tom Holkenborg’s (aka. Junkie XL) at his SCORE Academy. I not only worked on movie music in his studio, but also attended recording sessions at the renowned Warner Brothers Eastwood Scoring Stage and meetings with top-notch Hollywood directors. On top of Holkenborg, I have also created pilot music for Carter Burwell for TV show “The Morning Show”, worked on orchestration for Karim Elmahmoudi on his assistance on game”Psychonauts 2″, orchestrated and mocked up music for game composer Chi-I Lo, and worked in music production companies such as audioforce to create music specifically for trailers and commercials.

As a concert music composer, I write music for various instrumentations for different venues and settings. In 2019, I became a frequent collaborator with National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and have created numerous orchestral arrangements as part of their “Restoration of 120 Taiwanese Folk Songs” project, arrangements for their grand 75th celebration for the orchestra, an original musical “Once Upon An Island” along with StoryWorks. In the coming years, I will be working with NTSO again on an upcoming feature film “Hyperspace Heroes – Nezha: The Young Warrior” directed by Chin-Liang Hsu for the film soundtrack.


How does being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American and/or community ally play a role in your life?

As a composer, Taiwanese culture has a great influence on my music as I try to use traditional Chinese instruments, Taiwanese folk tunes, and local metaphors and beliefs to express my unique identity. The Eastern elements not only resonate with the Asian audience, but also intrigues the Western audience with how I interweave Eastern themes with Western orchestration and harmonies.

Learning the differences and divergences in cultures, values, and virtues in society, and educational strategies through my own eyes and heart as a first generation immigrant from Taiwan in America have also impacted my life in many ways. For example, my multicultural and bilingual background often puts me in the role of bridging the East and the West, especially in the situations such as misuse of idiomatic terms, unfamiliarity with the cultures, or miscommunications. Being an immigrant has allowed me to put myself in the shoes of both sides and address solutions by gathering and applying varied knowledge, experiences and inspiration from both countries.


If you could teach future generations 1 thing about being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American or Taiwan, what would it be?

I hope that the future generations never forget their roots but also never cease embracing new ideas that contribute to their identity while learning to balance different virtues, such as individualism and collectivism. Understanding that Taiwan and America have their strengths and weaknesses, we should try our hardest to confront issues with our unique opinion as immigrants, take the advantage of being bilingual to communicate with both sides, and enrich and empower diversity in every industry infusing American culture with our own.


What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

Globalization is an inevitable trend and being part of both sides of the world has given us enormous leverage to support and understand others regardless of their background. My vision for the future Taiwanese America is when people look past boundaries between the East and the West and take inspiration from both sides. In the music industry, the Beatles’ infamous trip to India in search of salvation not only brought tourism into the country but also opened a door of conversation between Eastern music and Western music. Similarly in other fields, I hope to see the reciprocal effect on other aspects of our lives such as food, joint educational events, and mutual respect that will help us understand how we can work together.

Our cultural heritage might make us good in one way but short in another, but my hope is that we can learn from others while also giving part of ourselves back to them. By providing the best of both worlds, we can bring industries to a new level and prove that diversity is the secret that leads to ultimate creativity and productivity.


Favorite memory of Taiwan/Taiwanese America?

There are too many beautiful memories to choose from, but if I had to pick, some of my favorites are seeing Taiwanese food culture and technology flourishing in America. Not only do I enjoy rewarding and indulging myself with some signature Taiwanese snacks like bubble tea and pineapple cakes after a busy day, but I also take pride in revealing to my American friends that the piece of technology they use every day is MIT (Made in Taiwan). With fading childhood memories of Taiwan, it is truly nostalgic to be reminded of home here and there in America.


Favorite Taiwanese food?

Fresh seafood in general and Taiwanese snacks such as I-Mei egg rolls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *