Bright Sheng

From Wind Repertory Project
Bright Sheng


Bright Sheng (b. 1955, Shanghai, China) is a China-born composer living and working in the United States.

Sheng and his family were persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. Avoiding compulsory farm-service through his musical talents, Sheng discovered his love for Chinese folk music, as well as his predilection for music composition, while in a provincial band in Tibet. As the scourge of the Cultural Revolution began to dissolve in 1976, Sheng was accepted as a composition student at Shanghai Conservatory, from which he graduated with top honors.

Sheng left China for New York City, ultimately finding his path through studies at Queens College, then Columbia University, and finally the music festivals at Aspen and Tanglewood. Sheng developed his transcontinental voice under the wings of top musicians such as conductor Gerard Schwarz, pianist Samuel Lipman, and composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein. Sheng admits: “I’m a mixture of both cultures, but I consider myself both 100% American and 100% Chinese.”

Sheng's works are well known for their dramatic style and historical signification.

Sheng is the recipient of the 2001 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award,” and was runner-up for both the 1989 and 1991 Pulitzer Prizes. He is the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan where he has taught since 1995. He is also the Y. K. Pao Distinguished Visiting Professor of Humanities at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he directs the IC Festival and other arts-related activities.

Works for Winds


  • Bright Sheng website
  • Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Bright Sheng." Accessed 12 March 2017
  • The Horizon Leans Forward…, compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 470.
  • Pasquale, John D. "Shanghai Overture." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 9, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 1000-1006. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013.
  • Threinen, Emily L.. "La'i (Love Song) for Orchestra without Strings." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 6, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 836-843. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2007.