Zhou Long, Distinguished Professor of Music Composition
Zhou Long is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the entire spectrum of his Chinese heritage, including folk, philosophical, and spiritual ideals, he is a pioneer in transferring the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments and ensembles. His creative vision has resulted in a new music that stretches Western instruments eastward and Chinese instruments westward, achieving an exciting and fertile common ground. In 2011 Zhou Long was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his first opera Madame White Snake. In their citation the jurors described the work as “a deeply expressive opera that draws on a Chinese folk tale to blend the musical traditions of the East and the West.” Zhou Long is currently Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.
Zhou Long was born into an artistic family and began piano lessons at an early age. During the Cultural Revolution, he was sent to a rural state farm, where the bleak landscape with roaring winds and ferocious wild fires made a profound and lasting impression. He resumed his musical training in 1973, studying composition, music theory, and conducting, as well as Chinese traditional music. In 1977 he enrolled in the first composition class at the reopened Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Following graduation in 1983, he was appointed composer-in-residence with the National Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra of China. Zhou Long travelled to the United States in 1985 under a fellowship to attend Columbia University, where he studied with Chou Wen-Chung, Mario Davidovsky, and George Edwards, receiving a Doctor of Musical Arts in 1993. After more than a decade as music director of Music From China in New York City, he received ASCAP’s Adventurous Programming Award in 1999 and its Concert Music Award in 2011.
His awards include 2003 Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Masterprize and the CalArts/Alpert Award, and winning the Barlow International Competition, with a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been a two-time recipient of commissions from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, and the New York State Council on the Arts. He has received fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, in addition to recording grants from the Cary Trust and the Copland Fund for Music.
Among the ensembles commissioning works from him are the Bavarian Radio, BBC, Kansas City, Honolulu, California Pacific, and Singapore Symphonies; the Brooklyn, Tokyo, and China Philharmonics; the New Music Consort; the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble; the Kronos, Shanghai, Ciompi, and Chester string quartets; Ensemble Modern-Frankfurt; the Post-Classical Ensemble; PRISM Saxophone Quartet; New York New Music Ensemble; Chanticleer; Opera Boston; Beijing Music Festival; and musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Lan Shui, Long Yu, and Leonard Slatkin.
Zhou’s works have been recorded on Warner, BIS, EMI, CRI, Teldec (1999 Grammy Award), Cala, Delos, Sony, Avant, Telarc, and China Record. Zhou Long is published exclusively by Oxford University Press.