Born in Taipei, Chieh Huang grew up in the Atayal family, Taiwan’s third-largest indigenous group. The Irvine resident had taught herself English but worried about the impending extinction of the Atayal language: There are an estimated 90,000 speakers, and younger generations lack proficiency in it. Now Huang, pursuing a Ph.D. in integrated composition, improvisation and technology in UCI’s Department of Music, has found a way to unite her twin passions of language and music. Her dissertation seeks to elevate the Atayal language by transferring its unique aspects into music. Her hope is that her music will embody Atayal culture. “We cannot speak the language,” Huang says, “but we [have] it as a new art form in music.”
#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.