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IAS Helmut & Anna Pao Sohmen Professor-at-Large
Prof Bright Sheng
Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition, University of Michigan
Research Areas:
Music Composition, Conducting

Prof Bright Sheng was born in Shanghai, China in 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. In 2010, he became a Visiting Professor of HKUST IAS and he was awarded a Doctor of Humanities honoris causa from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2013.

Declared "a fresh voice in cross-cultural music" by the MacArthur Foundation Committee, Prof Sheng was awarded the Genius Award, The MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in November 2001. In addition to many awards received in China and Europe, he 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, Prof 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 Prof 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 (U.K.) International Music Festival, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. 

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