Bright Sheng, MacArthur Fellow and Composer, Becomes Committee of 100 Member

The Committee of 100 is honored to announce its newest member, Mr. Bright Sheng.

Bright Sheng is respected as one of the foremost composers of our time, whose stage, orchestral, chamber and vocal works are performed regularly throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

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Bright Sheng, Committee of 100 member (2015)

Many of Sheng’s works has strong Chinese and Asian influences, a result of his study of Asian musical cultures for over three decades. As a 2001 MacArthur Fellow, he was proclaimed by the Foundation as “an innovative composer who merges diverse musical customs in works that transcend conventional aesthetic boundaries” and “will continue to be an important leader in exploring and bridging musical traditions.”

Born in Shanghai, Mr. Sheng began studying the piano with his mother at age four. At the age of fifteen he was sent to Qinghai during the Cultural Revolution where for seven years he performed as a pianist and percussionist in the provincial music and dance theater. When China’s universities reopened in 1978, he was among the first students admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he studied to be a composer from 1978-82. He moved to New York City in 1982, and has since received his Doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA) from Columbia University.

In April of 1999, at the invitation of President Bill Clinton, Mr. Sheng received a special commission from the White House to create new work for a state dinner honoring the Chinese Premiere Zhu Rongji. In October 2001, Bright Sheng was named a MacArthur Fellow with a cash prize of $500,000. Professor Sheng’s music has been widely performed throughout the world by the most prestigious musicians. He has also collaborated with such eminent ensembles and individuals as the Emerson Quartet, Takacs Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, St. Petersburg Quartet, Colin Graham , Jude Kelly, Ong Keng Sen, and David Henry Hwang.

In addition to being named a MacArthur Fellow in 2001, Professor Sheng has received many national and international awards, including fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Naumberg Foundation, Copland Foundation, Michigan Arts Award and a Rackham fellowship and a fellowship from the Institute for the Humanities from the University of Michigan. Sheng’s music has been widely performed throughout the world by the most prestigious musicians. He has also collaborated with such eminent ensembles and individuals as the Emerson Quartet, Takacs Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, St. Petersburg Quartet, Colin Graham , Jude Kelly, Ong Keng Sen, and David Henry Hwang. Mr. Sheng’s music is exclusively published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and records on the Sony Classical, Naxos, Telarc, Delos, Koch International, New World, and Grammofon AB BI labels. Among his important teachers were Leonard Bernstein, George Perle, Hugo Weisgall, Chou Wen-Chung, and Jack Beeson.

Mr. Sheng has been teaching composition at the University of Michigan since 1995, where he is the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Music.

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