Zhou Tian

From Wind Repertory Project
Zhou Tian


Zhou Tian (pronounced JOH TEE-en; Zhou is his last name. b. 22 December 1981, Hangzhou, China) is an American composer and educator.

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.

Zhou's "Concerto for Orchestra" -- commissioned and recorded by the Cincinnati Symphony and Music Director Louis Langrée -- was nominated for a 2017/18 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. “Transcend,” his new work commissioned by 13 American orchestras commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion, has been performed across the U.S. and featured in the PBS documentary “The Work of Art.” His "Sinfonia" for wind ensemble won the 2022 Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Contest.

Zhou seeks inspiration from different cultures and strives to mix them seamlessly into a musically satisfying combination for performers and audience alike. His music — described as “absolutely beautiful…utterly satisfying” (Fanfare), “stunning” (the Cincinnati Enquirer), and “a prime example of 21st-century global multiculturalism” — has been performed by leading orchestras and wind ensembles in the United States and abroad, such as the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, “The President’s Own” US Marine Band, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Chanticleer, Jaap Van Zweden, Yuja Wang, and the Shanghai Symphony, where he recently served as the Artist-in-Residence. His wind ensemble music has been commissioned by major universities, and is among his most performed works.

N.B.: The composer’s family name is Zhou and his given name is Tian. When only the composer’s last name is listed in the program, it should be listed as “Zhou.” The full name should be listed as “Zhou Tian.” He goes by Zhou (Joh), or formally, Dr. Zhou.

Works for Winds


  • King, Michael T. "Petals of Fire." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 12, Compiled and edited by Andrew Trachsel, 1031-1038. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2021.
  • Michigan State University Wind Symphony concert program, 16 March 2017
  • Zhou Tian website Accessed 20 March 2017