composer lei liang wins prestigious rome prize

Some good news for San Diego composer and UCSD faculty member Lei Liang... He was as recently named winner of the prestigious 2011 Rome Prize, which is given to individuals "who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities": UCSD composer wins prestigious Rome Prize.

Liang, who has been a member of UCSD's internationally acclaimed composition faculty since 2007, won the Elliott Carter Rome Prize for his Sextet and Chamber Concerto. Aside from prestige, honor and Composer Bragging Rights, the award gets him a sweet year-long residence in Rome:
The prize carries with it a Rome residency, and Liang expects to take a leave from UCSD and study and compose in Rome from Sept. 2011 through Aug. 2012.

"Lei Liang exemplifies the creativity, innovation and diverse talent at UC San Diego," said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. "We are proud of him and his work, and congratulate him on receiving this well-deserved, prestigious prize."

Liang's music is often considered in the company of other contemporary, Chinese-born composers, including Chen Yi, Bright Sheng and Tan Dun. But his highly individual compositional style, with its emphasis on subtle tone colors, doesn't necessarily sound Chinese; nor does it sound Western.

"I don't even see myself only as an experimental composer, or a new music composer," he said. "I'm just writing music."
Liang was born and raised in China, but left the country in 1990 after participating in the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, which apparently left a lasting impresson on him and his work. More here: Touched by tragedy at Tiananmen Square.

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