Photo courtesy of Zhou Long
Born into an artistic family in Beijing, composer Zhou Long struggled during China’s Cultural Revolution when his education was suspended and he was sent to work at a state-run farm. When the school system returned in 1977, Long resumed his studies in composition at the Beijing Central Conservatory, and afterward worked as resident composer for the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra. After he immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 under a fellowship to attend Columbia University, he began to focus on blending the techniques and sounds of ancient Chinese music with modern Western instruments and ensembles, uncovering common ground between two disparate traditions. Among his many honors, he won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his opera Madame White Snake.