Born on 23 September 1955, Ye Xiaogang is regarded as one of China’s leading contemporary composers. From 1978 until 1983, he studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in China and after graduation he was appointed Resident Composer and Lecturer at the Central Conservatory of Music in China. From 1987 he studied at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester in New York.
Ye started to piano lessons under the tutor of his father at the age of four, and then studied piano under Professor Jiazheng You at faculty from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In 1978, Ye enrolled in the Composition Department of the Central Conservatory of Music. He had meanwhile qualified to enter the Piano Department of the Conservatory, but he insisted on learning composition. In his youth, Ye took part in all kinds of chamber music concerts as a pianist, and also recorded CDs. In August 2008, Ye’s piano concerto Starry Sky was premiered by Lang Lang at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Accompanied by dance and light shows, this live broadcast was watched by 3 billion people worldwide. In addition, Ye’s piano solo piece Namucuo has been made a required modern piano piece by many international piano competitions.
Ye was the first Chinese composer to sign with Schott Music. For three decades his works have drawn attention both in Eastern Asia and in the West, being played by international orchestras and ensembles including the Munich Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and Ensemble Modern.
Entrusted with cultural tasks as member of the Chinese Parliament, Ye is presently Vice Chairman of China’s Musicians’ Association, Vice President of the Central Conservatory of Music, and Founder and Artistic Director of Beijing Modern Music Festival, the biggest contemporary music festival in East Asia. He has received numerous prizes and awards.