America the Beautiful …devastatingly quiet…(2020) was commissioned by and written for pianist Min Kwon and the Center for Musical Excellence.
An ideal, no matter how distant it seems at times, is still worth striving for.
Chinese-born American composer Lei Liang is the winner of the Rome Prize, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Koussevitzky Foundation Commission, a Creative Capital Award, and the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His concerto Xiaoxiang for saxophone and orchestra was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2015. His orchestral work, A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams, won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 2021.
Lei Liang was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series. Other commissions came from the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, among others. Lei Liang’s ten portrait discs are released on Naxos, New World, Mode, Albany and Bridge Records. He has edited and co-edited five books and editions, and published more than thirty articles.
Lei Liang studied with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Robert Cogan, Chaya Czernowin, Mario Davidovsky, and received degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (B.M. and M.M.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.). He is Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego. His catalogue of more than a hundred works is published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York). www.lei-liang.com
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon