Zhou Long

(b. 8 July 1953, Beijing).

American composer, born in China, of mostly orchestral, chamber and vocal works that have been performed throughout the world.

Mr. Zhou studied piano as a child and later studied composition with Wu Zu-qiang at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing from 1977–83. He then studied composition with Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University, where he earned his DMA in 1993.

Among his honours are Erster Preis in the competition of the festival Ensemblia in Mönchengladbach (1990, for Ding [Samadhi]), Premier Prix in the competition d'Avray in France (1991, for Dhyana), First Prize in the competition Barlow (1994, for Tian Ling), First Prize in the competition Masterprize (1998, for Two Poems from Tang), the Adventurous Programming Award from ASCAP (1999, for his work with the organisation Music from China, shared with his wife Chen Yi), a Grammy Award (1999, for the recording on Teldec of Words of the Sun), the Academy Award in Music for lifetime achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2003), and the Pulitzer Prize for Music (2011, for Madame White Snake). He has also received fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

He is also active in other positions. He served as composer-in-residence to the China Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra from 1983–85 and as the Music Alive! composer-in-residence to the Silk Road Project Festival of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2002. He serves as artistic director of Music from China in New York, New York.

He has taught as Visiting Professor of Composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, where he was later Distinguished Professor of Music, and as a visiting professor at Brooklyn College and the University of Memphis. He has given lectures and masterclasses in China and the USA.

He has lived in the USA since 1985.

His publisher is Oxford University Press.





Dong Shi (ballet), large orchestra, 1983

Sheng Sheng Man (incidental music for a dance show, text by Li Qingzhao), soprano, ensemble of instruments from China, 1989

Flying to Heaven/Butterfly (dance music), fixed media, 1994

Hidden Voices (dance music), 4 players, fixed media, 1994

Madame White Snake (opera, libretto by Cerise Lim Jacobs), 2010


Fisherman's Song (symphonic poem), large orchestra, 1981

Guang Ling San Symphony, large orchestra, 1983

King Chu Doffs His Armour, pipa (lute from China), orchestra, 1991

Da Qu, percussion, large orchestra, 1991 (also version for percussion, orchestra of instruments from China, 1991)

Tian Ling, pipa, small orchestra (14 players), 1992

Beijing Drum, pipa, orchestra, 1994

Poems from Tang, string quartet, large orchestra, 1995 (version of work for string quartet; third and fourth movements may be performed separately as Two Poems from Tang)

Concerto, saxophone, orchestra, 1999–2000

Out of Tang Court, pipa, zheng (zither from China), erhu, orchestra, 1999–2000

The Rhyme of Taigu, large orchestra, 2003

The Immortal, large orchestra, 2004


Song of the Ch'in, string quartet, 1982 (also incorporated into Poems from Tang)

Valley Stream, dizi (transverse flute from China), guan (oboe from China), zheng, percussion, 1983

Taiping Drum, violin, piano, 1983

Su, flute, huqin (family of spike fiddles from China), 1984 (also version for flute, harp/pipa, 1990)

Green, dizi, pipa, 1984 (also version for flute/shakuhachi [bamboo flute], pipa, 2001)

Triptych of Bell-Drum Music, percussion, 1984

The Moon Rising High, pipa, ensemble (dizi, daruan [bass lute from China], yangqin [hammered dulcimer from China], zheng, erhu, percussion), 1986

HengEternity, dizi, pipa, yangqin, zheng, erhu, percussion, 1987

Soul, string quartet, 1987

Ding (Samadhi), clarinet, zheng, double bass, 1988 (also version for clarinet, double bass, percussion, 1990)

Variations on 'A Poetess' Lament', ensemble of instruments from China, fixed media, 1989

Dhyana, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 1990

You Lan, erhu, piano, 1991

Wu Ji, zheng, piano, percussion, 1991 (version of work for piano; also versions for harp, piano, percussion, 1991; piano, percussion, 2000)

Soul, pipa, string quartet, 1992

Secluded Orchid, violin, cello, piano, 1992 (also version for pipa, erhu, cello, percussion, 2000)

Wild Grass, cello, 1993 (also version for viola, 1993)

Five Maskers, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1994

The Ineffable I, flute (+ piccolo), pipa, zheng, violin, cello, percussion, 1994 (also version for flute, zheng, percussion, 1994)

The Ineffable II, 2 dizi, cello, 2 percussion, 1995

Poems from Tang, string quartet, 1995 (incorporates Song of the Ch'in; also version for string quartet, large orchestra)

Metal, Stone, Silk, Bamboo, dizi, flute (+ piccolo), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), violin, cello, percussion, 1996

Sizhu, Silk and Bamboo, dizi, xun (clay flute from China), viola, cello, 1996

Tales from the Cave, huqin, 4 percussion, 1998

Spirit of Chimes, violin, cello, piano, 1999

Rites of Chimes, cello, ensemble of instruments from China, 2000

Partita, violin, piano, 2000

Harmony, string quartet, 2003

Taigu Rhyme, clarinet, violin, cello, 3 percussion, 2003

The Five Elements, flute (+ piccolo, claves), A-clarinet (+ claves), violin, cello, piano, percussion, 2003 (also version for dizi, clarinet, pipa, erhu, cello, percussion, 2003)

Mount a Long Wind, dizi, pipa, zheng, erhu, percussion, 2004


Words of the Sun (text by Ai Qing [translated by the composer]), mixed chorus, 1982, revised 1997

Two Poems, mixed chorus, 1997 (version of two sections of Shi Jing Cantata)

The Future of Fire, children's chorus/mixed chorus, large orchestra, 2001


Ballade of the Sea (song-cycle, text by Tuo Huang), soprano, piano, 1979

Green (vocalise), soprano, pipa, 1984 (also version for soprano, guitar, 1991)

Li Sao Cantata (text by Qu Yuan), soprano, small orchestra (14 players), 1988

A Poetess' Lament, soprano, pipa, zheng, erhu, 1989, revised 2000

Shi Jing Cantata (text from The Book of Songs [English translation]), soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, 1990 (also version of two sections as Two Poems, mixed chorus)

Pipa Ballad (text by Bai Juyi), soprano, pipa, cello, 1991

Konghou Fantasia (text by Li He), soprano, pipa, zheng, erhu, string orchestra, 1995

Emperor's New Suit (text by Li Yan), baritone, piano, 2001


Wu Kui, 1983

Wu Ji, piano, fixed media, 1987 (also versions for zheng, piano, percussion; harp, piano, percussion; piano, percussion)


Chinese Folk Songs (folksongs from China), string quartet, 1998 (also version for string orchestra, 2004)


Valley Stream; Green (instrumental work; original version); Song beneath the Moon; Su (original version); Triptych of Bell-Drum Music. Chen Tao, Wang Ci-heng, dizi; Bao Ji-an, Hu Zhi-hou, guan; Han Guo-liang, flute; Wu Man, pipa; Huang He, yangqin; Li Meng, zheng; Wu Wen-guang, huqin; He Jian-guo, Li Zhen-gui, percussion (China Record Corporation: CRC RL-29, 1984)

Guang Ling San Symphony; Fisherman's Song; Dong Shi. Bian Zu-shan, Shao En, Yao Guan-rong/Central Philharmonic Orchestra (China Record Corporation: AL-52, 1986)

Tian Ling; Su (second version); Wu Ji (second version); Ding (Samadhi) (second version); Dhyana. Barbara Siesel, flute; Allen Blustine, clarinet; Victoria Drake, harp; Wu Man, pipa, zheng; Victor Kioulaphides, double bass; Gwendolyn Mok, piano; Frank Cassara, Erik Charlston, percussion; Efraín Guigui/Composers Conference Ensemble; Donald Palma/Speculum Musicae (Composers Recordings, Inc.: CRI 679, 1994)

Song of the Ch'in. Shanghai String Quartet (Delos Productions: DE 3162, 1994)

King Chu Doffs His Armour. Zhang Hong-yan/Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (Shanghai Audio and Video Company: CD 0020, 1994)

Li Sao Cantata. Lan Rao, soprano; Mak Ka Lok/Russian Philharmonic Orchestra (Hugo Productions, 1995)

Green (vocal work; original version). Min Xiaofen, soprano, pipa (Avant: AVAN 021, 1998)

Two Poems from Tang. Daniel Harding/London Symphony Orchestra (BBC Music Magazine: 67, 1998)

The Ineffable I; Wild Grass; Five Maskers; Ding (Samadhi) (original version); Metal, Stone, Silk, Bamboo. Allen Blustine, clarinet; Gregory D. Evans, French horn; Kevin Cobb, Wayne J. du Maine, trumpets; Thomas Hutchinson, trombone; Stephen Foreman, tuba; Fred Sherry, cello; Donald Palma, double bass; Claire Heldrich/Chen Tao, dizi; David Fedele, piccolo, flute; Jean Kopperud, clarinet, bass clarinet; Min Xiaofen, pipa; Ann Yao, zheng; Thomas Chiu, Laura Park, violins; Chris Finckel, Joshua Gorden, cellos; William Trigg, percussion (Cala Records: CACD 77008, 1998)

Chinese Folk Songs; Poems from Tang; Soul (second version). Min Xiaofen, pipa; Shanghai String Quartet (Delos Productions: DE 3233, 1998)

Two Poems from Tang. Daniel Harding/London Symphony Orchestra (EMI Classics: 72826 2, 1998)

Words of the Sun. Chanticleer (Teldec: 3984-24570-2, 1999)

Su (second version). Susan Glaser, flute, Emily Mitchell, harp (Koch International Classics: KIC-CD-3-7497-2, 2000)

Out of Tang Court. Shui Lan/Singapore Symphony Orchestra (BIS Records: BIS-CD-1222, 2002)

Da Qu (original version). Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussion; Shui Lan/Singapore Symphony Orchestra (BIS Records: BIS-CD-1322, 2003)

Shi Jing Cantata; Pipa Ballad; Konghou Fantasia; A Poetess' Lament; Green (vocal work; original version); Li Sao Cantata. Lan Rao, soprano (Cala Records: CACD 77009, 2003)

Tales from the Cave; Heng; Valley Stream; Secluded Orchid (second version); The Five Elements (second version). Music from China (Delos Productions: DE 3335, 2004)