Biography

Lei Liang (b.1972) is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post.

Winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, Lei Liang is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland Award, 
a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission and a Creative Capital Award. His concerto Xiaoxiang (for saxophone and orchestra) was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. 

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 Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Heidelberger Philharmonisches Orchester, the Thailand Philharmonic, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Manhattan Sinfonietta, Arditti Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New York New Music Ensemble and Boston Musica Viva. Lei Liang’s six portrait discs are released on Naxos, Mode, New World, Encounter and Bridge Records, along with twelve compilation discs. As a scholar and conservationist of cultural traditions, he served as editor and co-editor of three books, 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 (Calit2) where his multimedia works preserve and reimagine culture through combining advanced technology and scientific research.

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 (BM and MM) and Harvard University (PhD). 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 taught in China as a distinguished visiting professor at Shaanxi Normal University College of Arts in Xi'an; served as honorary professor of composition and sound design at Wuhan Conservatory of Music and as visiting assistant professor of music at Middlebury College. He currently serves as professor of music and chair of the composition area at the University of California, San Diego. Lei Liang's catalogue of more than seventy compositions is published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York).

Composer Lei Liang with son Albert and wife Takae Ohnishi at the 
American Academy in Rome, 2012.