Zhou Long and his 1977 class

The news of Zhou Long winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music with the Madam White Snake is widely covered by local news and papers.

Mr. Zhou (Zhou is a rather common Chinese surname) is one of the famous 1977 class of Central Conservatory of Music graduates, with others such as the Oscar-winner Tan Dun, Beijing Olympic composer Chen Qigang, the avant-garde and novelist Liu Sola and Chen Yi who marries Mr. Zhou. This is a legendary class for Chinese contemporary music.

Netherland director Eline Flipse once interviewed some of these 1977 classes composers, including Tan Dun, Qu Xiaosong, Chen Qigang and Guo Wenjing and made it into documentary Broken Silence where these composers talk about the school days. Those were the lesser supple days that the composers-to-be were to practise on crappy instruments and shared their dormitories. (Regretfully the link above is somehow not accessible.)

This book published by the Central Conservatory of Music features ten composers and documents their lives.

Although all these composers studied in the same classroom during their conservatory years, it is a fascinating fact that they create totally different music. Not to mention that these composers are now residing in different corners of the world, having completely different fate. Tan Dun, Chen Yi and Zhou Long are in the US, while Chen Qigang is a French citizen with his music showing heavy French influence. Guo Wenjing, having stayed in China all these years, has his music distilled with pebbles of the great civilisation.

Below is soprano Huang Ying sings the opening aria of the new Pulitzer work.

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