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Zhou Tian

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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.

Zhou came of age in a new China marked by economic reforms, and was in the United States by his 19th birthday. 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 2018 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.”

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 performers in the United States and abroad, such as the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” Chanticleer, Jaap Van Zweden, Yuja Wang, and the Shanghai Symphony, where he is the Artist-in-Residence for the 2019/20 season.

N.B.: Following a traditional spelling of Chinese-American artists, 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