Article: Top Ten Music Composers From China

China is a land with vast, beautiful culture. It has a vibrant population that loves art. Even so, China's entertainment industry remains under-appreciated by the world. But in the Indian subcontinent, classical music of China has gained much popularity. Chinese music is listened to by many people in South Korea, China, Thailand, and the rest of the South East Asian population. So, even though the Chinese music industry has been highly ignored, it has slowly gained attention. Many Chinese composers have accomplished a great deal in their music industry. They were awarded awards from Western countries and lauded by the press. Here is a list of top ten Chinese music composers.  

1. Joseph Koo 

He was born on  3 February 1933 and is a Hong Kong composer. Koo is considered one of the most famous composers in Hong Kong. He worked under the pen name Moran for Mandarin songs early in his career.  He was Member of Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1982. In 1998, he received the Bronze Bauhinia Star from the Hong Kong Government. He was awarded the Music Accomplishment Award, Highest Honour Award, Best Music Award, Best Lyric Award, Hong Kong Film Awards, and Taiwan's Golden Horse Film Festival Award. 


2. Tan Dun

He was born in 1957 in a village in Changsha in Hunan, China. The bans enacted during the Cultural Revolution discouraged Tan from pursuing music. He learned to play traditional Chinese instruments. UNESCO appointed him in 2013 as Goodwill Ambassador. He received Grawemeyer Award for his opera Marco Polo (1996) and both an Academy Award and Grammy Award for his film score in Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)


3. Xian Xinghai

He was born in Portuguese Macau in 1908. When he was six years old, Xian moved with his mother to Singapore. He was the first Chinese student admitted to the Paris Conservatory in 1934.  During his career, he composed over 300 works and published 35 papers, including Nie Er-the Creator of New Chinese Music. Xian developed pulmonary tuberculosis and died on 30 October 1945. 


4. Chen Yi

Chen Yi was born on April 4, 1953. She is a Chinese-American violinist and composer of contemporary classical music. She was the first woman from China to be awarded an M.A. in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music. She was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition Si Ji (Four Seasons). She has received awards from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School in 2010. In 2012, she was also awarded the Brock Commission by the American Choral Directors Association. The American Academy of Arts and Letters elected her in 2019.


5. Melissa Hui 

She was born in 1966 in British Hong Kong. At eight years old, she immigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She went to the University of British Columbia, where she did her undergraduate degree in piano performance. She did her master's and doctoral degrees in Composition from the California Institute of the Arts and Yale University, respectively. Her notable orchestral works include Between You (1992), Common Ground (1993), and Aljira (1995). Hui's other famous works are San Rocco (1991), Night on Earth (2001), and the  Pax (2019).


6. Benjamin Lees

He was born on 8 January 1924 in Harbin, China. His family emigrated to California, United States. At the age of 5, he started piano lessons with Kiva Ihil Rodetsky of San Francisco. Lees studied composition at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. He worked under the label Toccata Classics. He received a nomination for Kalmar Nyckel in 2003. He had received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts. He died on 31 May 2010. 


7. Li Jinhui

He was a Chinese composer and songwriter. He was born on 5 September 1891 in Xiangtan, Hunan, Qing China. He is often known as the "Father of Chinese popular music." He created his musical form after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. Li's music was prevalent, but the Chinese Nationalist Party attempted to ban his music. The Communist takeover in 1949 prohibited this kind of popular music. He was a victim of political persecution in 1967 during the height of the Cultural Revolution.


8. Qigang Chen

He was born on 8 August 1951. He is a Chinese-French composer. His musical studies began at an early age. He was the victim of the Cultural Revolution and had spent three years locked. In 1983, he stood for the national competition where he came first and then went abroad to pursue graduate studies in composition. He was the Music Director of the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing.


9. He Yong

He was born in  1969 on 15th February in Beijing. He is a Chinese rock musician and a  self-styled punk. His lyrics and outspoken nature have made him controversial in mainland China and Hong Kong. He worked as a singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and poet. His only album, Garbage Dump, exemplified his negative, though often thoughtful perspective toward life. He is regarded as one of the beginners of Chinese rock.


 10. Zhou Long

He was born on July 8, 1953, in Beijing, China. He is a Chinese American composer. During the Cultural Revolution, he was forced to stop his piano lessons. He was then chosen to study at the newly reopened Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 1977. His albums include Zhou Long & Chen Yi: Symphony "Humen 1839," and Tales From The Cave. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2011, Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada.