Chinary Ung, who was born in Cambodia in 1942, comes not just from the other side of the world, but he comes to the orchestra from the other side of the musical spectrum as well. He did not hear an orchestra until he was seventeen years old and, though interested in composition in his youth, he never even realised that there was such a thing as notated music. One of the first graduates from Cambodia's national musical conservatory, Ung moved to America where he eventually earned a doctorate from Columbia University, studying with Chou Wen Chung, the Chinese-American composer. Another strong influence was George Crumb, with whom Ung taught on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania from 1980 until 1987. Since then he has served as associate professor of theory and composition at Arizona State University in Tempe and is currently Professor of Composition at the University of California, San Diego.