The Book of Songs is a collection of ancient Chinese poetry from the period between the 11th century BC and 1100 AD. The poetry is set to music on this CD in the form of two cantatas, a fantasia, a ballad and two songs, all sung by Lan Rao, soprano and accompanied by a noteworthy variety of Western and Chinese folk and traditional instrumental groups.
Zhou Long (b. July 8, 1953, Beijing) is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the entire spectrum of his Chinese heritage, he is a pioneer in transferring the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments and ensembles. His creative vision has resulted in a music that stretches Western instruments eastward and Chinese instruments westward, achieving an exciting and fertile common ground.
Zhou Long was born into an artistic family and began piano lessons at an early age. During the Cultural Revolution, he was sent to a rural state farm, where natural scenes of roaring winds and fierce wild fires made a profound and lasting impression. He resumed his musical training in 1973, studying composition, music theory, and conducting, as well as Chinese traditional music. In 1977, he enrolled in the first composition class at the reopened Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Following graduation in 1983, he was appointed composer-in-residence with the National Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra of China. He came to the United States in 1985 under a fellowship to attend Columbia University and received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1993, having studied with Chou Wen-Chung, Mario Davidovsky, and George Edwards. After more than a decade as music director of Music from China in New York City, he received ASCAP's prestigious Adventurous Programming Award in 1999.
Zhou Long is Visiting Professor of Composition and director of Musica Nova at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He has been invited to join the composition faculty at The Cleveland Institute of Music for the fall 2004 term. In addition, he is the recipient of the 2003 Academy Award in Music, a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In May 2002, he was Music Alive! Composer-in-Residence of the Seattle Symphony's "Silk Road Project" Festival with Yo-Yo Ma, supported by the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer. He has received fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, in addition to recording grants from the Mary Flagler Cary Trust and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music. His awards include Masterprize (BBC, EMI, London Symphony) and the CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, as well as winning the Barlow International Competition, with a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has been the recipient of commissions from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Among the ensembles commissioning works from him are the BBC Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Singapore Symphony, the Tokyo Philharmonic, the New Music Consort, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Kronos, Shanghai, Ciompi, and Chester string quartets, and the vocal ensemble Chanticleer. Zhou Long's works have been recorded on BIS, EMI, CRI, Teldec (1999 Grammy Award), Cala, Delos, Avant, and China Record Corporation. His music is published exclusively by Oxford University Press.
In July 2004, his orchestral work, The Immortal, commissioned by the BBC World Service, will be premiered by the BBC Symphony under Leonard Slatkin, at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of the BBC Proms.
A United States citizen since 1999, Zhou Long is married to the composer-violinist Chen Yi. It should be noted that Zhou is his family name and Long is his personal name, and thus he should be referred to as Mr. Zhou or Dr. Zhou.