Music of the 21st Century: Bright Sheng

Music of the 21st Century is an annual residency that brings some of the world’s most outstanding composers to the DePauw University School of Music. It provides students and faculty members a special opportunity for personal interaction with these composers to study, perform and share with our audiences the music of our time. This five-day residency is generously underwritten by Robert A. Schmidt (’69) and Margaret Sheridan Schmidt (’69).

Bright Sheng | Feb. 25 – Mar. 1, 2019

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

A MacArthur fellow proclaimed by the foundation as “an innovative composer who merges diverse musical customs in works that transcend conventional aesthetic boundaries,” Sheng has created an oeuvre that is not only Asian influenced but also is a strong synthesis of Western musical tradition that makes his work distinctive and original. Sheng admits, “I consider myself both 100% American and 100% Asian.”

In September of 2016, in a co-production with the Hong Kong Arts Festival, with sold-out runs at both places, the San Francisco Opera premiered Sheng’s commissioned opera Dream of The Red Chamber featuring a libretto by David Henry Hwang and Sheng, based on a beloved Chinese novel by the eighteenth century writer Cao Xueqin. In September he conducts a three-city tour of the production in China.

In addition to composing, Sheng enjoys an active career as a conductor and concert pianist, and frequently acts as music advisor and artistic director to orchestras and festivals. He is currently the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor at University of Michigan, and the Y. K. Pao Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology where, in 2011, he founded and began serving as artistic director of The Intimacy of Creativity—The Bright Sheng Partnership: Composers Meet Performers in Hong Kong.

He was born on December 6, 1955, in Shanghai, and moved to New York in 1982 where he pursued his graduate works and studied composition and conducting privately with his mentor Leonard Bernstein.

Bright Sheng's music is exclusively published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and eleven exclusive CDs. For more information, check out www.brightsheng.com.

Check back as the festival approaches for a downloadable schedule of Music of the 21st Century events.