Zong-Liang Sheng

Bright Sheng
Visiting Professor of Music and Composition and Distinguished Artist in Residence

Bright Sheng is respected as one of the leading composers of our time, whose stage, orchestral, chamber and vocal works are performed regularly by the greatest performing arts institutions throughout North America, Europe and Asia. 

A MacArthur fellow and proclaimed by the foundation as “an innovative composer who merges diverse musical customs in works that transcend conventional aesthetic boundaries”, Sheng has created an oeuvre that is not only with Asian influence but also with strong synthesis of Western musical tradition which makes his work distinctive and original. Sheng himself admits: “I consider myself both 100% American and 100% Asian.”

In September of 2016, in a co-production with the Hong Kong Arts Festival, with sold-out runs at both places, the San Francisco Opera premiered Sheng’s commissioned opera Dream of The Red Chamber featuring a libretto by David Henry Hwang and Sheng, based on a beloved Chinese novel by the eighteenth century writer Cao Xueqin. In September he conducts a three-city tour of the production in China. The opera was selected as one of the finalists for the Best Premiere by the International Opera Awards in London.

In summer 2022, the San Francisco Opera revived the production of Dream of the Red Chamber, a rare honor as it is the only revival of any new operas the company has ever commissioned.

In addition to composing, Sheng enjoys an active career as a conductor and concert pianist, and frequently acts as music advisor and artistic director to orchestras and festivals. He is currently the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor at University of Michigan, and the Y. K. Pao Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology where, in 2011, he founded and has been serving as the Artistic Director of The Intimacy of Creativity—The Bright Sheng Partnership: Composers Meet Performers in Hong Kong.  For the 2022-23 academic year, he is appointed as the Distinguished Artist-in-Residence by the New York University Shanghai for its 10 anniversary celebrations.

Sheng was born on December 6th, 1955, in Shanghai, and moved to New York in l982 where he pursued his graduate works and studied composition and conducting privately with Leonard Bernstein.

Bright Sheng's music is exclusively published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and eleven exclusive CDs. Please follow www.brightsheng.com


Select Publications

Dream of the Red Chamber,
Madame Mao

China Dreams for Orchestra, Nanking! Nanking!--a Threnody for Pipa and Orchestra, Let Fly--Concerto for Violin and Orchestra 



  • DMA,
    Columbia University

  • MM,
    City University of New York

  • BM,
    Shanghai Conservatory 

Research Interests

  • Performing Artist (Conductor, Pianist)
  • Composition (Composer)