Bright Sheng appearing at the new music and art festival

This weekend marks the beginning of a very unique festival here at Bowling Green State University. The 24th annual New Music ‘ Art Festival, featuring distinguished composer Bright Sheng is being presented by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at the College of Musical Arts and the University’s School of Art. The three day festival will offer an array of concerts, lectures, workshops, performance arts, video screenings and exhibitions on campus, as well as at the Toledo Museum of Art. “The festival supports the creation of new work and engages both the University and broader communities in the process of art appreciation and awareness,” according to a recent press release. Along with a variety of musicians, composers and performers, will be Sheng, this year’s highlighted performer. Born in China, Sheng worked as a pianist and percussionist in Qinghai, during the Cultural Revolution when all of the universities were closed and intellectuals were sent to work in the fields. Upon the reopening of the schools in 1978, Sheng attended Shanghai, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in composition. Sheng then moved to New York where he earned his master’s degree at Queens College and his Ph.D. at Columbia. He is currently a member of the composition faculty at the University of Michigan. Sheng’s work has been noted around the world for its “lyrical, limpid melodies inspired by the folk music of China, particularly from the remote Chinese province of Quinghai, where he was sent during the Cultural Revolution,” according his website. Sheng was acknowledged by many receiving the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Award” in November 2001. The Foundation noted Sheng as “a fresh voice in cross-cultural music.” Adam Zygmunt, coordinator of operations of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music has heard many of Sheng’s pieces.

“His work is very much of western context with a strong Chinese influence,” Zygmunt said. “There is a continuum of how eastern flavored or western flavored the pieces are.”

Sheng’s newest compostitions, “H’un (Lacerations)” and “Nanking! Nanking!” were inspired by events in recent Chinese history.

In addition to performing his pieces, Sheng will be attending a seminar and will be speaking at the Festival Forum.

The festival is also featuring an art exhibition called “Radical Line: Contemporary Chinese Art,” which observes the relationship between traditional Chinese culture with the Western society. For an entire schedule of the weekend’s events, please contact the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at (419) 372-2685 or visit the University’s website at