Li-Ying Wu was born in Taipei, Taiwan, where she grew up in a family that loved the classical music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. She began her musical education at an early age with piano, cello and composition as her main subjects and completed her studies in 2003 with an MA in Fine Art from the National Taiwan Normal University. At this point she by chance came across the Danish music of Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgård, Niels Rosing-Schow and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. She was fascinated by the many differing musical languages she encountered in the works of these composers and, perhaps even more importantly, the apparent artistic freedom in Denmark that this diversity represented.
Denmark was therefore an obvious choice when Li-Ying Wu chose to continue her studies in Europe and since 2003 she has been living in Copenhagen. She has studied composition at the Royal Danish Music Academy with Bent Sørensen, Niels Rosing-Schow, Hans Abrahamsen, Ejnar Kanding and Hans Peter Stubbe Teglbjærg. In the Autumn of 2010 she commenced her Master studies in electronic composition at DIEM in Aarhus.
Li-Ying Wu’s music takes its point of departure in the sound of the music and how sound shifts during the course of the music. The music is therefore built on a highly refined treatment of instruments and sound which is also clearly reflected in her works with electronics. The composer's material unfolds in musical forms that can perhaps be described as sculptural rather than dramatic. The musical narratives are often expansive and unfold bit by bit. Procedures are not linear, as one is used to in Western European works, but unfold in spirals - a kind of sound ”zoom”. Under the music’s cyclical surface one finds a simple harmonic structure often rooted in e.g. Chinese scales. These characteristics contribute to the distinctive character and strongly personal touch in Wu’s musical works. On a larger, one could almost say philosophical, level, the music embraces a dialectic on the level of ideas that places both Asian and Western culture in a reciprocal perspective. This duality is strengthened by Li-Ying Wu’s search for new paths and possibilities within the field of tension between electronic and acoustic instruments.