GAN-RU GE (b 1954 )
Ge Gan-ru, described in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians as ‘China’s first avant-garde composer’, is often regarded as one of the most original composers of his generation. His music is known for its immediately identifiable individualism and unique sound.
Born in Shanghai in 1954, Ge studied violin when he was very young. At 17, he was sent to a labor camp to receive so-called “re-education” during the Cultural Revolution. When he was 20, he was admitted by Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he studied both violin and composition. After graduation in 1981, Ge was appointed assistant professor of composition at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Ge was already known in China as the first composer to employ contemporary and avant-garde techniques which were prohibited at the time. He was criticized for his individualism, which was directly at odds with the prevailing ideology.
In 1983, Ge became the first Chinese composer to be invited to study at Columbia University in New York where he obtained a doctoral degree in composition. Ge has since been living and working in the New York area.
Ge has composed music for concerts as well as theater, dance and films. The New York Philharmonic, BBC Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Lyon National Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Orchestra of Castilla y Leon, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Kronos Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, Miami Quartet and many other ensembles have commissioned and performed his works.
Ge’s music has been released by Naxos, BIS Records, Telarc, Albany Records, New Albion Records and Mode Records. His orchestral album “Chinese Rhapsody”, chamber music album “Lost Style” and string quartet album “Fall of Baghdad” have all received critical acclaims worldwide. His upcoming releases include an orchestral CD by BIS Records which features his flute concerto “Fairy Lady Meng Jiang” (2008) and orchestral suite “Lovers Besiege” (2009).