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SINFONIA For Wind Ensemble by Zhou Tian (China/USA, 1981)

[#179] December 26, 2022 2022 | Wind Ensemble | Grade 5 | 15'- 20' | Symphony

Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian
Credit: Harley-Seeley

Sinfonia, by Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian is our Composition of the Week.

Sinfonia was premiered on April 30, 2022, at Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, East Lansing, Michigan, by the Michigan State University Wind Symphony conducted by Kevin Sedatole, who initiated the project and led a CBDNA consortium of several American universities.

This work is the winner of the Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Composition Contest in 2022.

It has a duration of 20 minutes, and it is scored for wind ensemble, double bass, piano, harp and five percussion players.

Sinfonia seeks inspirations from cultures close to my heart and mixes them into four different movements (I.Noir; II.Transit; III.Arioso; IV.D-O-N-E). It begins nostalgically and ends on a hopeful, uplifting note.” (Program Note by Zhou Tian)

Zhou Tian is a Grammy-nominated composer, he seeks inspiration from different cultures and strives to mix them seamlessly into a musically satisfying combination for performers and audience alike. His has been performed by leading orchestras and performers in the United States and abroad, such as Jaap Van Zweden, Yuja Wang, the New York Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, “The President’s Own” US Marine Band, Dover Quartet, and Shanghai Symphony, where he recently served as the Artist-in-Residence. His Concerto for Orchestra—commissioned and recorded by the Cincinnati Symphony and Music Director Louis Langrée—earned him a GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2018, making him the first Chinese-born composer honored in that category. In 2019, Beijing Music Festival named him “Artist of the Year.” The Wall Street Journal calls his compositions “accomplish two important things: They remind us of how we got from there to here, and they refine that history by paying belated tribute to contributors who might otherwise be forgotten.”

Born into a musical family in 1981 in Hangzhou, China, Zhou moved to the United States when he was 19. Trained at the Curtis Institute of Music (B.M.), the Juilliard School (M.M.), and the University of Southern California (D.M.A.), he studied with some of America’s finest composers, such as Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Rouse, and Stephen Hartke. He is associate professor of composition at Michigan State University College of Music.


Other works for winds include:

  • Petals of fire (2017)

  • Seeker’s Scherzo (2019)

  • Trace (2021)

  • Nocturne (2021)

More on Zhou Tian


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