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Bright Sheng was born in Shanghai, China on 6 December 1955. His first piano teacher was his mother, who began giving him lessons when he was four years old. He went on to earn an undergraduate degree in music composition from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He then obtained his MA from Queens College, where he studied composition and conducting under Leonard Bernstein, and his DMA from Columbia University.

Declared “a fresh voice in cross-cultural music” by the MacArthur Foundation Committee, Bright Sheng was awarded the Genius Award by the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, in November 2001. In addition to many awards received in China and Europe, Sheng also received a number of other prizes in the United States from: the National Endowment for the Arts; American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Naumberg, Jerome, Koussevitzky, and Copland foundations; the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Kennedy Center and Tanglewood Music Center.

In 1999, Bright Sheng received a commission from president Clinton for a piece that was played during a state dinner at the White House by Wu Man and Yo-Yo Ma in honor of the Chinese premiere Zhou Rongji.

Among the many organizations which have performed Sheng’s works are: the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Shanghai Symphony, Singapore Symphony, the Danish and Finnish Radio symphony orchestras, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestra sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale de Santa Cecilia, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals, the Cheltenham (UK) International Music Festival and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

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