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LEI LIANG

Composition professor at UCSD

Lei Liang (b.1972) is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post.

Winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, Lei Liang is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland Award, a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission and a Creative Capital Award. His concerto Xiaoxiang (for saxophone and orchestra) was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. 

Lei Liang was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series. Other commissions and performances come from the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Heidelberger Philharmonisches Orchester, the Thailand Philharmonic, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Manhattan Sinfonietta, Arditti Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New York New Music Ensemble and Boston Musica Viva. Lei Liang’s seven portrait discs are released on Naxos, Mode, New World, BMOP/sound, Encounter and Bridge Records, along with more than a dozen compilation discs. As a scholar and conservationist of cultural traditions, he served as editor and co-editor of four books, and published more than twenty articles.

From 2013-2016, Lei Liang served as Composer-in-Residence at the Qualcomm Institute where his multimedia works preserve and reimagine culture through combining advanced technology and scientific research. In 2018, Liang returned to the Institute as its inaugural Research Artist-in-Residence.

Lei Liang's recent works address issues of sex trafficking across the US-Mexican border (Cuatro Corridos), America's complex relationship with gun and violence (Inheritance), and environmental awareness through the sonification of coral reefs. 

Lei Liang studied composition with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Robert Cogan, Chaya Czernowin, and Mario Davidovsky, and received degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (BM and MM) and Harvard University (PhD). A Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he held fellowships from the Harvard Society of Fellows and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships. Lei Liang taught in China as a distinguished visiting professor at Shaanxi Normal University College of Arts in Xi'an; served as honorary professor of composition and sound design at Wuhan Conservatory of Music and as visiting assistant professor of music at Middlebury College. He is professor of music at the University of California, San Diego where he served as chair of the composition area and Acting Chair of the Music Department. Starting from 2018, Lei Liang serves as the Artistic Director of the Chou Wen-chung Music Research Center in China. Lei Liang's catalogue of more than seventy compositions is published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York).

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Stratis Minakakis

Composition professor at New England Conservatory, Boston

Stratis Minakakis is a composer and conductor whose creative work engages issues of memory, cultural identity, and art as social testimony; it also explores the rich possibilities engendered by the interaction between arts and sciences.

As a composer, he has collaborated with leading performers and ensembles across Europe, North America, and Japan, such as The Crossing choir, the PRISM and Stockholm saxophone quartets, the Harry Partch ensemble, the Arditti String Quartet, Ensemble Counter)induction, Noh actress Ryoko Ayoki, recorder virtuoso Tosiya Suzuki, flutist Orlando Cela, and conductors Donald Nally and Rüdiger Bonn.

As a conductor, he has directed and coached numerous chamber music and orchestral ensembles in contemporary repertory, including works by Milton Babbitt, Katherine Balch, Henri Dutilleux, György Ligeti, Fabien Levy, Eric Maestri, John Mallia, Katarina Miljkovic, Dimitris Minakakis, Joan Arnau Pamiès, Y. A. Papaioannou, and Iannis Xenakis.

Also active in the field of music theory, his recent work focuses on interpretive analysis of the late string quartet manuscripts by Beethoven. This line of work builds upon the pioneering research of violinist Nicholas Kitchen on the expressive markings and articulations of Beethoven manuscripts. Other areas of interest include early Modernism, and the music of Xenakis and Ligeti.

He is the recipient of numerous artistic prizes, grants, and academic awards from institutions such as the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, the New England Conservatory, the Takefu International Festival in Japan, the Fondation Royaumont in France, the Center for Mediterranean Music in Greece, the Greek Composers Union, and the International Society for Contemporary Music. Deeply committed to music pedagogy, he was awarded the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and the prestigious Louis Krasner Award at the New England Conservatory.

He studied piano, theory, and composition at Atheneaum Conservatory (First Prize in Composition), Princeton University (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude), the New England Conservatory (Toru Takemitsu Award in Composition, summa cum laude, Distinction in Performance), and the University of Pennsylvania (Nitze and Hallstead Prizes for Composition, Dean’s Scholar Award, George Crumb Fellowship). He currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and teaches Music Theory and Composition at the New England Conservatory.

For more information about Stratis Minakakis, please visit: stratisminakakis.info