> contact us > mailing list
> employment > our history
> privacy policy > returns policy
Home > Composers > Composer Gallery > Composer Information
site search
HUANG RUO

HUANG RUO

Works

Recordings

Reviews


Awarded First Prize in 2008 by the prestigious Luxembourg International Composition Prize, Huang Ruo has been cited by the New Yorker as “one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers.” His vibrant and inventive musical voice draws equal inspiration from Chinese folk, Western avant-garde, rock, and jazz to create a seamless, organic integration using a compositional technique he calls "dimensionalism." Huang Ruo’s writing spans from orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and modern dance, to sound installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film. Ensembles who have premiered and performed his music include the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Asko Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Quatuor Diotima, and Dutch Vocal Laboratory, and under conductors such as Wolfgang Sawallisch, James Conlon, Dennis Russell Davies, Ed Spanjaard, Xian Zhang, and Ilan Volkov. He has collaborated with New York City Ballet principal dancer Damian Woetzel and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, in addition to kinetic artist Norman Perryman. In 2003, Miller Theatre featured him on its Composer Portraits series, where his four chamber concertos were premiered as a cycle by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) with Huang Ruo conducting. New York Times critic Allan Kozinn listed this concert as the second on the list of his “Top Ten Classical Moments of 2003.” Huang Ruo has received awards and grants from the ASCAP Foundation, Presser Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Argosy Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, Meet The Composer, NYSCA, Chamber Music America, American Music Center, Aaron Copland Award, and Alice M. Ditson Award.

Huang Ruo’s Chamber Concerto Cycle was released on Naxos in February 2007; Leaving Sao, a work for orchestra and soprano, was released on Albany Records in 2008; and Divergence came out on Koch International in 2009. Future CDs include two more on Naxos, and The Three Tenses on Summit Records. Upcoming concerts include performances by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony, the Het Collectief in Antwerp and De Bijloke Gent in Belgium; in addition, he will sing his own Leaving Sao with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in 2009. Huang Ruo's future commissions include a grand opera for the Opera Hong Kong, an orchestral work for the Macau International Music Festival, a string quartet for the Chiara Quartet, and three new works for the Camerata Pacifica, where he is the newly appointed composer-in-residence. Huang Ruo’s film credits include soundtracks for Jian-Fu Garden and Stand Up.

Huang Ruo was born in Hainan Island, China, in 1976, and was admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music at the age of twelve. After winning the Henry Mancini Award at the 1995 International Film and Music Festival in Switzerland, he moved to the United States to further his education. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition from the Juilliard School. His composition teachers have included Randolph Coleman and Samuel Adler. Huang Ruo is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase. He is the artistic director and conductor of the Future In Reverse (FIRE), and was selected as a Young Leader Fellow by the National Committee on United States–China Relations in 2006.

For more information about Huang Ruo and his music, please visit: www.huangruo.com



Works

Arrangements |  Chamber Ensembles |  Instrumental Solos |  Large Orchestra |  Multi-Media Works |  Small Orchestra |  Solo Instrument(s) with Orchestra |  Vocal and Choral




Arrangements


Souvenir du Louvre for String Orchestra (2005) -- 7'


Vorspiel (from Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder) (2006) -- 8'
for large ensemble



Chamber Ensembles


Chamber Concerto No. 1 Yueh Fei (2000) -- 19'
Fl. Cl. Perc. Pno. 2Vln. Vla. Vcl.


Chamber Concerto No. 2 The Lost Garden (2001) -- 18'
Fl. Cl. Perc. Pno. 2Vln. Vla. Vcl.


Chamber Concerto No. 3 Divergence (2001) -- 11'
Fl. Cl. Pno. Vln. Vcl.


Chamber Concerto No. 4 Confluence (2002) -- 16'
1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Hp. Str.


Childhood Sketches for Violin, Alto Saxophone, Piano, and Percussion (2005) -- 15'


Circle of Steps Vertical Installation for Six Staged Musicians (2007) -- 12'
Fl. Cl. Tpt. Tbn. Vla. Perc.


Four Visions for Guitar Quartet (2003) -- 15'


Shifting Shades for Cello, Percussion, Piano, with eighteen beer bottles (2008) -- 17'
Recordings


String Quartet No. 1 The Three Tenses (2005) -- 15'
Recordings
Reviews


String Quartet No. 2 The Flag Project (2009) -- 14'
String Quartet with Tibetan finger cymbals
Reviews


The Three Tenses for Brass Quintet (2005) -- 15'
2Tpt. Hn. Tbn. Tu.(or B.Tbn.)


The Three Tenses for Woodwind Quintet (2005) -- 15'
Fl. Ob. Cl. Hn. Bsn.


The Three Tenses Quintet for a Mixed Ensemble (2005) -- 15'
any five instruments from woodwind, brass, string


To the Four Corners Mutli-Media Drama for Visual Art and Five Staged Musicians (2005) -- 20'
Fl. Cl. Perc. Vln. Vla.



Instrumental Solos


Five Lights, Ten Colors for Piano (2008) -- 15'


Four Fragments for Solo Cello (2006) -- 12'
Additional Information: Published: #114-41430
Reviews


Three Pieces for Piano (1998-2005) -- 13'

Movements:
I. Prelude: Defluent
II. Postlude: Left …
III. Interlude: Points and Lines

Reviews


Tree Without Wind for Solo Piano (2004) -- 12'
Reviews


Wind Blows for any instrument and guitar (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for any instrument and harp (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for any instrument and marimba (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Bassoon and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Cello and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Clarinet and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Contrabass and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Flute and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Horn and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Oboe and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Trombone and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Trumpet and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Viola and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Violin and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Yellow Earth for Solo Violin (2007) -- 15'



Large Orchestra


Fanfare for Large Orchestra (1998) -- 4'
3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; 4Perc. Str.


Folk Songs for Orchestra (2012) -- 10'
3 2 2 2 - 4 3 3 1; 2Perc. Str.(div.)
Premiere Information: 11th February, 2012. San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carolyn Kuan; Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA.

Movements:
I. Flower Drum Song from Feng Yang
II. Love Song from Kang Ding
III. The Girls from Daban City

Shattered Steps for Large Orchestra (2006) -- 12'
3(dbl.Picc.) 3 3 2 – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
Reviews


Still/Motion Two Echoes for Orchestra (2009) -- 13'
3 3 3 3 – 3 3 3 1; 2Perc. Str.


Symphony No. 1 Path of Echoes (2006) -- 20'
3 3 3 3 – 3 3 3 0; 2Perc. Str.
Reviews


Three Pieces for Orchestra (1998-2000) -- 17'
3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; 4Perc. (incl. Timp.) Pno. Hp. Str.
Premiere Information: October 5th, 2000. The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA.

Movements:
I. Prelude
II. Fanfare
III. Announcement

Reviews


Two Pieces for Orchestra for Large Orchestra (1998-2000) -- 12'
3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; 4Perc. Str.
Additional Information: Also available for Chamber Orchestra



Multi-Media Works


Confluences Concerto for Chamber Orchestra and Kinetic Painting (2005) -- 16'
Live Visual Painting; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Hp. Str. (single or section)


To the Four Corners Multi-Media Drama for Visual Art and Five Staged Musicians (2005) -- 20'
Fl. Cl. Perc. Vln. Vla.
Recordings
Reviews



Small Orchestra


Chamber Concerto No. 1 Yueh Fei (2000) -- 19'
Fl. Cl. Perc. Pno. 2Vln. Vla. Vcl.
Recordings
Reviews


Chamber Concerto No. 2 The Lost Garden (2001) -- 18'
Fl. Cl. Perc. Pno. 2Vln. Vla. Vcl.
Recordings


Chamber Concerto No. 3 Divergence (2001) -- 11'
Fl. Cl. Pno. Vln. Vcl.
Recordings


Chamber Concerto No. 4 Confluence (2002) -- 16'
1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Hp. Str.
Recordings
Reviews


Chamber Symphony No. 1 Path of Echoes (2006) -- 20'
2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Str.


City of Solace (2001) -- 15'


Hanging Cliffs for Chamber Orchestra (2008) -- 13'
2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 1; 2Perc. Str.


Three Pieces for Orchestra for Chamber Orchestra (1998-2000) -- 17'
2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 1; 2Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.



Solo Instrument(s) with Orchestra


Curve of the Shadow Double Concerto for Sheng, Zheng and Orchestra (2005) -- 15'
Solo Sheng, Solo Zheng; Fl. Ob. Cl. Mandolin, Gtr. Hp. Perc. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.
Reviews


Mo Concerto for Sheng and Chamber Orchestra (2008) -- 15'
Solo Sheng; Sop.Sax. Cl. B.Cl. Hn. A.Sax. Tu. Perc. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl.


Omniprescence Concerto for Violin, Off-Stage Ensemble, and Orchestra (2003) -- 33'
Solo Violin, Fl. Ob. Cl. Bsn. (off stage); 2 2 0 0 – 1 1 1 0; 4Perc. Hp. Str.


People Mountain People Sea Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (2007) -- 23'
Solo Cello; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
Reviews


The Color Yellow Concerto for Sheng and Chamber Orchestra (2007) -- 20'
Solo Sheng; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
Reviews


Wind Blows Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (2007) -- 6'
Solo Cello; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
Additional Information: Also available for Chamber Orchestra



Vocal and Choral


Elegy Sounds Ever Slow (2008) -- 7'
Soprano, String Quartet


Leaving Sao for Soprano or Chinese folk-voice and Chamber Orchestra (2004) -- 11'
Sop./Voice; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; Perc. Str.
Recordings
Reviews


Leaving Sao for Soprano or Chinese folk-voice and String Quartet, with optional perc. (2004) -- 11'
Additional Information: Also available with String Quintet


Wind Blows for Alto and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for any voice and harp (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for any voice and marimba (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Baritone and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Bass and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Soprano and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Wind Blows for Tenor and Piano (2007) -- 6'


Recordings


Leaving Sao for Soprano or Chinese folk-voice and Chamber Orchestra


Albany Records TROY1020: New Music from Bowling Green, Vol. 5
Bowling Green Philharmonia, Emily Freeman Brown, conductor, Huang Ruo, singer



To the Four Corners Multi-Media Drama for Visual Art and Five Staged Musicians


Naxos 8.559653: To the Four Corners
Future In REverse, conducted by Huang Ruo



Chamber Concerto No. 1 Yueh Fei


Naxos 8.559322: HUANG, Ruo: Chamber Concertos Nos. 1-4
International Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Huang Ruo



Chamber Concerto No. 2 The Lost Garden


Naxos 8.559322: HUANG, Ruo: Chamber Concertos Nos. 1-4
International Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Huang Ruo



Chamber Concerto No. 3 Divergence


Naxos 8.559322: HUANG, Ruo: Chamber Concertos Nos. 1-4
International Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Huang Ruo



Chamber Concerto No. 4 Confluence


Naxos 8.559322: HUANG, Ruo: Chamber Concertos Nos. 1-4
International Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Huang Ruo



Shifting Shades for Cello, Percussion, Piano, with eighteen beer bottles


Naxos 8.559653: To the Four Corners
Future In REverse, conducted by Huang Ruo



String Quartet No. 1 The Three Tenses


Naxos 8.559653: To the Four Corners
Future In REverse, conducted by Huang Ruo



Reviews

"Huang Ruo, one of the most intriguing of the new crop of Asian-American composers."

-The New Yorker Magazine

"Huang Ruo is still in his 20's, but a program of his works at the Miller Theater in February showed him to be an imaginative straddler of East and West."

-Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

"Mr. Huang’s contribution was strikingly assured, marked by a descriptive grandeur and gravity achieved by exact and economical means. His writing adds a new tint to the orchestra palette, and combines many voices, many lives."

-Matthew Gurewitsch, The Wall Street Journal

"Huang Ruo discovers a convincing synthesis between the hushed Chinese sound-world and modernist composition techniques. His music speaks directly to the heart."

-VPRO Radio Guide

"What I know is that Huang Ruo is a hugely gifted young composer. Remember the name."

-Peter Burwassser, The Philadelphia City Paper

"Huang Ruo is a fresh rising star among the new generation of Chinese composers."

-Li Jin, Music Weekly, China


Shattered Steps for Large Orchestra

"…a wonderful demonstration on devil-may-care fearlessness…

The piece is based on the composer’s own vocal improvisations – a series of manic whoops and hollers with which he introduced the piece – and it captures much of that frenetic energy."

-Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle


Three Pieces for Orchestra

"Three Pieces for Orchestra by 24-year-old composer Huang Ruo was most notable for its highly original musical language, pastoral chirping, and the gorgeously mystical touch of asking the orchestra members to chant quietly."

-Peter Dobrin, The Philadelphia Inquirer


Path of Echoes Chamber Symphony No. 1

"…less like a symphony and more like a sonic event.

…inspired by the Chinese-born composer’s hikes in the mountains near his native village.

…also partly composed…as a response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Hence the music’s sad, elegiacn quality.

…an almost painterly, abstract quality. Musical figures sigh, bend, rattle, skitter, shimmer, swirl and echo off one another.

There is a sense here of trying to get inside of reality, behind things."

-Gary Panetta, Peoria Journal Star


People Mountain People Sea Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orchestra

"Mr. Huang’s “People Mountain People Sea,” the flashiest and most openly exuberant piece of the evening, was a cello concerto for Jian Wang, who looked like a businessman and sounded like a force of nature. The visual aspects of Mr. Huang’s imagination were apparent: the piece crackled with color and movement. The cello moved from thick double-stops to a dark lyrical elegy; the orchestra popped with sounds like the banged strings of a piano, the taut thwack of woodblocks between movements and the sizzle of tongued whispers from the musicians, like water on a hot stone."

-Anne Midgette, The New York Times


Curve of the Shadow Double Concerto for Sheng, Zheng and Orchestra

"There were splendid moments: dark mantras sung by the musicians, hoketus-like passages and a strong ending with grating over the piano-strings. Ruo is actually the only one who makes you really curious about his future development."

-Jochem Valkenburg, NRC Handelsblad


Leaving Sao for Soprano or Chinese folk-voice and Chamber Orchestra

"Huang Ruo’s fascinating “Leaving Sao” for vocalist and orchestra, a 2004 memorial work for the composer’s grandmother, was an alluring patchwork of Asian folk melodies and pungent, Western classical elements. Mr. Huang was the affecting soloist, singing in a high-pitched, quasi-wailing Chinese folk style."

-Anthony Tommasini, New York Times


To the Four Corners Multi-Media Drama for Visual Art and Five Staged Musicians

"…one of the most exciting and challenging pieces of music the group has taken on in recent history. Ruo is an adventurous contemporary classical composer from China, and this work gave one the feeling that he had truly gone to the four corners of the Earth for inspiration.

“To the Four Corners”…got a standing ovation from the Camerata Pacifica audience, who generally are more likely to get to their feet for Brahms. The work bodes well for the upcoming commission of a chamber concerto by Ruo that Camerata Pacifica has scheduled for next season."

-Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent

"...timbrally fascinating, with a varied, mysterious percussion palette…"

-Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide (review of Naxos 8.559653)


Four Fragments for Solo Cello

"The sole unplugged exception was Huang Ruo’s set of ruminative pieces for unamplified violin, “Four Fragments.” Mr. Huang writes that the “fragments,” which are played almost continuously (with only one break), are reminiscences of his travels, but he leaves the specifics to listeners’ imaginations. As in many of his scores, Chinese articulation styles — sliding notes and gracefully bending tones — mingle freely with Western moves and diatonic harmonies."

-Allan Kozinn, New York Times


Tree Without Wind for Solo Piano

"The work begins with a cascading figure that ripples from the top of the keyboard down to a bass register roar, and parts of the work are positively Lisztian. Yet at various points a gentle chordal figure emerges and shimmers momentarily."

-Allan Kozinn, The New York Times


Three Pieces for Piano

"...an inventive set that includes two virtuosic, insistently angular and rhythmically vital movements, as well as a lyrical, soft-toned movement for the left hand alone."

-Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

"Immensely interesting, Three Pieces progresses from a slow, jagged prelude for left hand to a furiously percussive conclusion deploying both left and right hands at full tilt. Once the other hand entered, the texture soon thickened, the intervals narrowed, and the pace quickened into a violent toccata."

-Zachary Lewis, Tthe Cleveland Plain Dealer


Chamber Concerto No. 1 Yueh Fei

"stole the show with its brash percussive romps and unexpected (yet totally sensible) Buddhistic chants"

-Ted Shen, The Chicago Tribune


Chamber Concerto No. 4 Confluence

"With enormous flair, the Chinese composer Huang Ruo processed finely-sieved Stravinskian ingredients and spicy oriental sounds into a filmic festive banquet."

-Frits van der Waa, Amsterdam Volkskrant


String Quartet No. 1 The Three Tenses

"...evokes the meeting of past, present and future in music of fluttering and kaleidoscopic personality."

-Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"…an inventive and attractive essay in modernism…"

-Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide (review of Naxos 8.559653)

"In a striking moment early in Huang Ruo's Three Tenses (2005), Mr. Yee whistled a high, keening melody while playing a low drone. Moments later Ms. Schroeder simulated a gust of wind by blowing into her instrument. The vivid, eventful music is no less effective for it. Melancholy smears and glassy whispers in the opening cede to a surging middle section, which ultimately closes with a sudden wilt, as if a plug were pulled. Near the end viola and cello offer a droning wail; the violins resist, fluttering like butterflies in a killing jar, then finally succumb."

-Steve Smith, The New York Times


Symphony No. 1 Path of Echoes

"The opening work was the sonically stunning premiere of Path of Echoes: Chamber Symphony No. 1 by Huang Ruo and commissioned by IRIS. Huang's lifelong fondness for mountain echoes inspired this amazing array of textures representing sounds both natural and manmade, changing as they ricochet in the hills, in the concert hall, in the brain. The composer evoked a rich variety of noises, from birds and falling rocks to funeral music and voices. The musicians were called on to do unorthodox things to coax remarkable sounds from their instruments and the result was energizing. The brass would shape one sound and pass it on seamlessly to the strings who would reform it and artfully dispatch it on its way. Path of Echoes is a visceral and humane work, and the future of this young Chinese-American composer is one to hear -- and watch."

-Jon W. Sparks, The Commercial Appeal


The Color Yellow Concerto for Sheng and Chamber Orchestra

"…a blend of European and Chinese music…

…a sea of strange sounds: [the sheng] vibrates, it hums, it roars…it sounds clear as a bell…[an] exciting work…Rewarded with jubilant applause and cheers."

-Ann Brünink, Märkische Allgemeiner


String Quartet No. 2 The Flag Project

"The evening's climax was the premiere of the String Quartet No. 2 by the New York composer Huang Ruo. Subtitled 'The Flag Project', the piece is an evocation of Tibetan prayer flags, and it calls on the musicians to play four pairs of Tibetan finger cymbals at different intervals. Echoes of Himalayan throat singing turn up in cello lines and the entire three-movement piece had a mystical, other-worldly quality."

-Brian Wise, The Strad

"A three movement meditation on the movements of Tibetan prayer flags in the wind, it was a challenging yet beautiful piece that suggests an ascendant career path for a composer from whom we will certainly be hearing things about in the future."

-Charles Noble, NobleViola.com

"…a notable work by the gifted Chinese composer Huang Ruo.

…this colorful piece was inspired by Buddhist prayer flags."

-Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times




Page last updated January 16, 2013