"Thinking about what we could do to share different cultures in our new society, I have been composing music seriously to achieve my goal of improving the understanding between peoples from various backgrounds. My conceptions have often come from ancient Chinese poetry. There are musical traits directly reminiscent of ancient China: sensitive melodies, expressive glissandi in various statements, and, in particular, a peculiarly Chinese undercurrent of tranquillity and meditation. The cross-fertilization of color, material, and technique, and on a deeper level, cultural heritage, makes for challenging work."

Equally at home in the worlds of traditional Chinese music, western symphonic music and contemporary computer-generated techniques, Zhou Long speaks with an original, uncompromising voice. His family nurtured his talent for the piano; his advanced training was disrupted by the Cultural Revolution. (He was sent to drive a tractor in a remote rural area.) Later, Zhou Long was one of one hundred, chosen from eighteen thousand applicants, when the Central Conservatory reopened in 1977. After graduating in composition, he embarked on a successful career in China. In 1985, Zhou Long emigrated to the United States where a radically different musical culture led him to reevaluate his expressive world, to rebuild his compositional technique and develop a multifaceted and layered language. In Poems from Tang, for string quartet and orchestra, for example, Zhou Long has imagined the traditional western string quartet as the ancient seven string Chinese zither, the qin, forging a hybrid enriched by both traditions. Zhou Long has extended his dialogue to dance, film, and theater, collaborating with H.T. Chen, Chiang Ching, Gao Xing-Jian, Loni Ding, and Ellen Perry among others.

"Today multi-media and technology provide so many possibilities to creative artists. Still, musical inspiration is often born from the beauty of the nature. Verses of poetry may give you the frame; the movements of calligraphy may give you the rhythm; an ancient dark ink painting may give you space, distance and layers; a variety of sound sources may give you the color. Finally, craft ensures your own full expression."


Born 1953, Beijing, China; residence in U.S. since 1985; U.S. citizen from 1999
Lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and Brooklyn, New York

1993 Doctor of Musical Arts, Columbia University, New York
1983 B.A., Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing
1983-5 Composer-in-Residence, China Broadcasting Symphony, Beijing
1985-present Music Director, Music From China-ensemble, New York
2001-4 Visiting Professor of Composition, University of Missouri-Kansas City

  2001 The Future of Fire, for orchestra and children's chorus, commissioned by the Tokyo Philharmonic, premiered at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall
Emperor's New Suit, for baritone and piano, commissioned by the NYFOS and Meet the Composer, Songbook for a New Century
  2000 Rites of Chimes, for cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Music from China, commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art
Out of Tang Court, for orchestra and Chinese traditional quartet, commissioned by the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Munich, Germany
  1999 Spirit of Chimes, for violin, cello and piano, for Peabody Trio, on a Chamber Music America's Celebration of the Millennium commission
  1998 Tales from the Cave, for huqin and percussion quartet, commissioned by Music From China, with grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York
  1996 Poems from Tang, for string quartet and orchestra, commissioned and premiered by the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Kronos Quartet
  1994 The Ineffable, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Library of Congress for New Music Consort and Music From China
  1992 Soul, for string quartet and pipa, and Tian Ling (Nature and Spirit), for pipa and large ensemble, commissioned by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble for Wu Man and the Kronos Quartet

  2001-02 Composer-in-Residence for the Seattle Symphony's Silk Road Festival with Yo-Yo Ma, supported by MTC/ASOL's Music Alive Project
  2001 Fromm Music Foundation Commissioning Award for SFCMP
  1998 Masterprize (BBC, EMI, London Symphony)
  1995 Fellowships from American Academy of Arts and Letters and National Endowment for the Arts; Barlow International Composition Competition, First Prize; Meet the Composer/Readers Digest Commission Award
  1994 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

  2001 The Book of Songs, Rao Lan/various (Cala Records: CACD77009)
  1999 Words of the Sun—Colors of Love, Chanticleer (Teldec: 3984-24570-2)
  1998 The Ineffable, Heldrich/various players (Cala Records: CACD77008) The Flowing Stream, Min, pipa/Shanghai Quartet (Delos: DE3233) Two Poems from Tang, London Symphony Orch. (EMI: CDZ5 72826-2)
  1994 Nature and Spirit, Wu Man, pipa/Speculum Musicae (CRI: CD 679)