Bright Sheng
Bright Sheng is a Chinese-American composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, conductor
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

, and pianist
A pianist is a musician who plays the piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers, solo instrumentalists, or other performers.-Choice of genres:...

. He has lived in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 since 1982 and is on faculty at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

. In 1999, the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 commissioned Sheng to compose a piece to honor the Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

 at a state dinner hosted by President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. In November 2001, Sheng received a MacArthur Fellowship. Sheng is the New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

's first composer in residence.

Sheng's compositions have been performed by most major American orchestras, as well as many European and Asian orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1891, the Symphony makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival...

, Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris
Orchestre de Paris
The Orchestre de Paris is a French orchestra based in Paris. The orchestra performs most of its concerts at the Salle Pleyel.-History:In 1967, following the dissolution of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, conductor Charles Munch was called on by the Minister of Culture,...

, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra of the Netherlands, based at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 1988, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands conferred the "Royal" title upon the orchestra...

, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
The claims to be the oldest classical orchestra in Japan, having been founded in Nagoya in 1911. It moved to Tokyo in 1938 and has some 166 members as of 2005....

, and the China National Symphony. Some of the most notable performers of Sheng's music have included Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

, Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist, virtuoso, and orchestral composer. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011...

, Peter Serkin
Peter Serkin
-Biography:He was born in New York City and is the son of pianist Rudolf Serkin, and grandson of the influential violinist Adolf Busch, whose daughter Irene had married Rudolf Serkin...

, Kurt Masur
Kurt Masur
Kurt Masur is a German conductor, particularly noted for his interpretation of German Romantic music.- Biography :Masur was born in Brieg, Lower Silesia, Germany and studied piano, composition and conducting in Leipzig, Saxony. Masur has been married three times...

, Emanuel Ax
Emanuel Ax
Emanuel Ax is a Grammy-winning American classical pianist. He is currently a teacher on the faculty of the Juilliard School. He is considered one of the best known concert pianists of the 21st century.-Early life:...

, Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Edward Slatkin is an American conductor and composer.-Early life and education:Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a musical family that came from areas of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine. His father Felix Slatkin was the violinist, conductor and founder of the Hollywood String Quartet,...

, Robert Spano
Robert Spano
Robert Spano is an American conductor and pianist. Since 2001 he has been Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra , and he served as Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic from 1996 to 2004...

, David Zinman
David Zinman
David Zinman is an American conductor and violinist.After early violin studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, Zinman studied theory and composition at the University of Minnesota and took up conducting at Tanglewood...

, and Neeme Järvi
Neeme Järvi
Neeme Järvi is an Estonian-born conductor.-Early life:Järvi studied music first in Tallinn, and later in Leningrad at the Leningrad Conservatory under Yevgeny Mravinsky, and Nikolai Rabinovich, among others...

. Sheng's most notable teachers include Leonard Bernstein and Chou Wen-Chung
Chou Wen-chung
Chou Wen-chung , Shandong, China) is a Chinese American composer of contemporary classical music. He emigrated in 1946 to the United States where he lives.-Life:...


Notable compositions

  • Never Far Away, a harp concerto, world premiere (2008) by Yolanda Kondonassis
    Yolanda Kondonassis
    Yolanda Kondonassis is an American classical harpist. She is one of the world's foremost classical harpists.She first began playing the piano, then switched to harp at age nine. She studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, then at the Cleveland Institute of Music...

     and the San Diego Symphony
    San Diego Symphony
    The San Diego Symphony is an American symphony orchestra, based in San Diego, California. On 6 December 1910, it gave its first concert as the San Diego Civic Orchestra.Currently, the Symphony performs over 100 concerts each season...

  • Nanking! Nanking!, a threnody
    A threnody is a song, hymn or poem of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person. The term originates from the Greek word threnoidia, from threnos + oide ; ultimately, from the Proto-Indo-European root wed- that is also the precursor of such words as "ode", "tragedy", "comedy",...

     about the Nanking massacre
    Nanking Massacre
    The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing , the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second...

  • Red Silk Dance
  • Madame Mao, commissioned by and given its world premiere by the Santa Fe Opera
    Santa Fe Opera
    The Santa Fe Opera is an American opera company, located north of Santa Fe in the U.S. state of New Mexico, headquartered on a former guest ranch of .-General history:...

     in 2003
  • China Dreams
  • The Silver River
    The Silver River
    See also: The Princess and the CowherdThe Silver River is a chamber opera in one act, composed by Bright Sheng, with libretto by playwright David Henry Hwang. It was first performed at the Santa Fe, New Mexico Chamber Music Festival in 1997...

     (1997), an opera premiered in Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Four Movements for Piano Trio
  • The Song of Majnun
  • Seven Tunes Heard in China, for Solo Cello
    The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

  • The Nightingale and the Rose
    The Nightingale and the Rose (ballet)
    The Nightingale and the Rose is a ballet made by Christopher Wheeldon to music by Bright Sheng commissioned by the New York City Ballet. The premiere took place on Friday, June 8th, 2007, at the New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, the orchestra conducted by the composer...


  • The second syllable of Sheng's given name, Liang, loosely translates as "bright lights," which is why he took "Bright" as his English first name.

External links

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