Lei Liang

Chinese-born American composer Lei Liang (b.1972) is the winner of the Rome Prize, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Koussevitzky Foundation Commission and a Creative Capital Award. His concerto for saxophone and orchestra “Xiaoxiang” was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2015.

Lei Liang was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series. Other commissions and performances come from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, MAP Fund, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Arditti Quartet, the Shanghai Quartet, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the New York New Music Ensemble, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. Lei Liang’s seven portrait discs are released on Naxos, New World, Mode, BMOP/sound, Encounter, and Bridge Records. As a scholar and conservationist of cultural traditions, he edited and co-edited four books and editions, and published more than twenty articles.

From 2013-2016, Lei Liang served as Composer-in-Residence at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology where his multimedia works preserve and reimagine cultural heritage through combining scientific research and advanced technology. He returned to the Institute as its first Research Artist-in-Residence in 2018.

Lei Liang's recent works address issues of sex trafficking across the US-Mexican border (Cuatro Corridos), America's complex relationship with gun and violence (Inheritance), and environmental awareness through the sonification of coral reefs. 

Lei Liang studied composition with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Robert Cogan, Chaya Czernowin and Mario Davidovsky, and received degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (B.M. and M.M.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.). A Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he held fellowships from the Harvard Society of Fellows and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships. Lei Liang is Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego where he served as chair of the composition area and as Acting Chair of the Music Department. His catalogue of more than seventy works is published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York).

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