Shuying Li, composer

Shuying Li

Praised by the Seattle Times as a real talent here waiting to emerge” with skillful orchestral writing, very colorful language and huge waves of sound,” Shuying Li is an award-winning composer who began her musical education in her native China. In her sophomore year at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, she won a scholarship to continue her undergraduate studies at The Hartt School in Connecticut. She holds doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and is a research faculty member at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She will join the faculty at Gonzaga University as Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Theory in the fall of 2020.

In 2017, Shuying made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for the premiere of the commissioned work Out Came the Sun. The following season, Orpheus commissioned an arrangement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 for a collaboration with Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii that was performed more than 20 times in America and Asia. In addition, Shuying was one of the three resident composers in the Composer Librettist Development Program with the American Lyric Theater during the 2017–2018 season. In 2015, Shuying’s orchestral work, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night was named a winning work to participate in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, where it was performed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under the baton of JoAnn Falletta. In 2013, Shuying’s orchestral work Overture to The Siegewas selected as the winning composition in both IAWM’s Libby Larsen Prize and the Seattle Symphony’s Celebrate Asia Composition Competition, and it was given a world premiere by the Seattle Symphony. In 2014, Shuying’s work for band Slippery Slope won the distinguished ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize.

Other recognition Shuying has received include awards from The American Prize, the International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition, the New Jersey Composers’ Guild Commission Competition, the International Huang Zi Composition Competition, the Michigan Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composer Competition, the NAfME Composition Competition, the Melta International Composition Competition, the Florence String Quartet Call for Scores, the Foundation for Modern Music’s International Robert Avalon Composition Competition, the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee Young Composer Competition, and the International J. Dorfman Composition Competition, among others. She was also composer-in-residence for the Romania ICon Arts Festival during the summer of 2014.

A believer that music has the innate power to promote cultural diversity by connecting people through universally human passions and values, Shuying founded the Four Corners Ensemble in 2017. As Artistic Director and Conductor of the ensemble, Shuying’s efforts have led to residencies and performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, the Polish Consulate General in New York City, OPERA America, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the University of Michigan, The Hartt School, and the Hartford Opera Theater. Shuying also pioneered both the Operation Opera Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Jimo Ancient City Classical Music Festival in Qingdao, China.

Shuying’s compositions have been performed by orchestras and ensembles around the globe, including Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Opera Theater, Wellesley Conference Chamber Orchestra, Orkest de ereprijs (Netherlands), Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra (Finland), ICon Arts Ensemble (Romania), Cecilia Quartet (Canada), Opera from Scratch (Canada), Donald Sinta Quartet, 15.19. Ensemble (Italy), Ascanio Quartet (Italy), Atlas Ensemble (Netherlands), University of Cincinnati Wind Orchestra, Hartt Wind Ensemble, and others.

Shuying’s composition teachers have included Michael Daugherty, Evan Chambers, Ye Guohui, Robert Carl, and Larry Alan Smith. She studied conducting with Glen Adsit and Edward Cumming and studied piano with Matthew Bengtson and Paul Rutman. Additionally, Shuying has worked with Victoria Bond, Paul Chihara, Joseph Schwantner, Martin Bresnick, Christopher Theofanidis, and Steven Mackey.

Upcoming projects include performances by Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra (China), Moscow Contemporary Ensemble (Russia), Alarm Will Sound, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, and Aspen Contemporary Ensemble; an opera commissioned by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music with librettist Julian Crouch; and a band consortium commission by 20 universities including The Hartt School, New England Conservatory, University of Michigan, Cornell University, and University of Illinois, and others. Learn more by visiting