Viaje: Zhou Tian

“Viaje”(Spanish for voyage) was commissioned by Dolce Suono Ensemble and premiered by Mimi Stillman, flute and the Dover Quartet in 2015. Mimi Stillman premiered the flute and string orchestra version of “Viaje” with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle (NC) in 2016. Experiencing Spain for the first time and learning about the stories of Spanish legend El Cid inspired me to compose this 9-minute thrill ride of bittersweet. I was particularly drawn to the relationship between Cid and his two daughters, as they went through an innocent childhood, separation, distrust, and finally, reunion. I imagined the flute to be the voice of daughters, and the cello representing the voice of father. A musical dialogue between the two emerges in the middle of the piece, as if recalling a long-overdue conversation between father and daughters. It wasn’t until the piece was finished that I realized that I had unconsciously married my musical roots as a Chinese-American with my new found love of Spanish music.

Described as “absolutely beautiful” and “utterly satisfying” (Fanfare), the works of Chinese-born American composer ZHOU Tian (JOH TEE-en) have been performed by major orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and by leading soloists and ensembles such as Yuja Wang, Roberto Díaz, Jason Vieaux, the Eroica Trio, the Arditti and Dover string quartets, the Empire Brass, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. His newest work, “Concerto for Orchestra,” (“stunning…tonal and engaging” —Cincinnati Enquirer), commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony, premiered in the orchestra’s 2015-16 season finale, conducted by music director Louis Langrée. The work was released in the CSO’s latest recording “Concertos for Orchestra” in Fall 2016. Critically acclaimed for his lush and distinctive musical voice, Zhou’s music has been performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and broadcast on NPR and PBS. His large-scale symphonic suite for soloists, orchestra, and chorus, “The Grand Canal,” was performed during a nationally televised celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He holds music degrees from Curtis (B.M.), Juilliard (M.M.), and USC (D.M.A.), is a first-prize winner of Washington International Composers Competition, and held composition fellowships from Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals. He is an associate professor of composition at Michigan State University College of Music. Visit for more.

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