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Red Contributor

Ping Gao


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Born: 1970


Gao Ping is a composer-pianist, born in Chengdu, Sichuan province of China. He studied in the USA in the 1990’s. In demand as a composer, he has received commissions and performances from musicians around the world. The Beijing-based musicologist Li Xi’an has referred to Gao Ping as a leading member of the “sixth generation” of Chinese composers after the “fifth generation” composers such as Tan Dun and Qu Xiaosong.

Many prestigious venues have presented Gao Ping's work such as the Aspen Music Festival, Dresdener Musikfestspiele, Hibiki Hall Festival (Japan), New Zealand International Arts Festival (Wellington), and the Beijing-Modern International Music Festival. In Europe, his music has been commissioned or performed by groups including the Berlin Piano-Percussion Ensemble the Zurich-based Ensemble Pyramide, and the Gaudeamus International Music Week in Amsterdam.

While completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Gao Ping won the 2003 Auros Compostion Prize (Boston) and was resident at the MacDowell Colony for Artists. In New Zealand, his music has been presented by Michael Houstoun, John Chen, Christchurch International Arts Festival, New Zealand String Quartet, and NZTrio. Gao was the recipient of the 2010 CANZ (Composers Association of NZ) Trust Fund Award.

As a pianist, Gao Ping’s repertoire is extensive; he has performed to acclaim all over the world. In 2008, Gao Ping premiered his Piano Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mr. Kenneth Young. The Listener enthusiastically acclaimed the two-movement work as “a major concerto”.

Gao Ping’s two albums released on the Naxos label were critically acclaimed and described as “music which wants to be heard with ears of a child, full of wonder and amazement…. deep and vulnerable.”

Gao is currently a Professor in Composition at the Conservatory of Music-Capital Normal University as well as a guest professor at the China Conservatory of Music. He previously taught at Canterbury University and Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music.

Composed (25)

Bright Light and Cloud Shadows

for string quartet

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

for piano and orchestra, 30m

Cuo Diao (Split Melody)

arranged by Allen Otte and Bonnie Whiting Smith for glockenspiel and vibraphone

Distant Voices

for piano, 14m 6s

Feng Zheng

for violin, cello, piano and guzheng


for piano (left hand only)


for bassoon and piano

Mei, Lan, Zhu, Ju

for string quartet and piano, 25m

Movement I of Valley Echoes

for one piano, four hands

Night Alley

for piano, 8m

Outside the Window

for solo piano, 12m

Perhaps - song at a burial

for vocalising pianist, 7m 30s


for flute and piano

Questioning the mountain

for violin and piano, 5m 30s

Shuo Shu Ren - The Storyteller

for flute, oboe, violin, viola, cello and harp, 28m 12s

Si Bu Xiang (The Four Not Alike)

a concerto for multi-functional pianist and Chinese instruments

Sonata No. 2 for Cello and Piano - Departure

for cello and piano, 20m 47s

The Mountain

for orchestra

Three Poems of Mu Xin

for bass and string quartet

Commissioned (1)


for solo piano