• Biography

    Zhiyi’s characteristics of composing reflects all the genres he has touched, with a sophisticated amalgam of Oriental tinctures and Western avant-garde, as well as influenced by classical traditions. He has composed a series of music works in different genres, including contemporary classical, film and TV score, modern ballet, musical, world music and pop music. His works have been performed by leading ensembles including the China National Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic, NCPA Orchestra, The Orchestra of China National Opera House, The Orchestra of Shanghai Opera House, Brno Philharmonic, China Broadcast Symphony Orchestra, Senzoku Gakuen New Philharmonic, Lviv Chamber Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, Sound Ways Ensemble, Ensemble Les Amis, RTE ConTempo Quartet, Baroque Camerata, Lemberg Sinfonietta, Villiers String Quartet and many others throughout Asia, North America and Europe.


    As a core member of the music crew in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Zhiyi composed various music programs for the Opening Ceremony. His Fanfare for the Ceremony was performed when Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, and Liu Qi, President of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, entered the stadium to make their opening speeches. His arrangements included four programs: the theme song, You and Me (performed by Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan), the duet song, Dream of the Five Rings, Ritual Music, and Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. Zhiyi’s immense contribution to the spirit of the Ceremonies has been officially acknowledged by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee. He later transcribed the orchestral version of the Beijing Olympic Theme Song You and Me for the 2012 New Year’s Concert at the China National Centre for the Performing Arts, conducted by Lorin Maazel.


    In contemporary domain, Zhiyi has won 1st prizes from Red Note International Composition Competition, International Alfred Schnittke Composition Competition, Senzoku Gakuen International Composition Competition and Malta International Composition Competition, as well as prizes from International Sergei Slonimsky Composition Competition, International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition and International Franz Liszt Competition for Composers. He was a recipient of the Grawemeyer Fellowship, which was from the same foundation that supports the Grawemeyer Award in music composition, and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Oberlin College, which made him the seventh awardee in the history of the school. Zhiyi has been Composer-in-Residence at the Shanghai Opera House, the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, Sacrarium International Composers’ Forum in Ukraine and the International Contemporary Arts Academy in Romania. He received commissions from Shanghai Opera House, Beijing Contemporary Dance Theater, National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, Romanian Ministry of Culture, 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Chinese Opera Peony Awards, Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee and China Central Television, among others. Zhiyi is an adjunct faculty at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Virginia Commonwealth University Global Summer Institute of Music.


    Regarding film and TV, Zhiyi composed an original score for the films, But Always and Highway of Love, for which he received the “Discovery of the Year” nomination from the 15th World Soundtrack Awards. He became the second Asian nominee after Tan Dun to be acknowledged in the same award category since 2001. In 2017, he won the Gold Medal from Global Music Awards for his original film score Dali Holiday. Zhiyi also orchestrated and produced the film scores for Coming Home and The Flowers of War by Zhang Yimou. Moreover, he composed the original music for TV series and documentaries, including The Man of Soccer, The Forbidden City 100 and Huai, The Open Door. He also wrote many hit songs for screen, including Love Love Aloha for film I love That Crazy Little Thing, The Origin of Fates for documentary Jinling: Predestined to Buddha, and Romantic Attachment for documentary The Louvre Meets the Forbidden City.


    In pop music, Zhiyi received two nominations for Best Arrangement in the 25th Golden Melody Awards for Fu Xian Lake and Blooming from the album Li Jian Classic Remake Collections. He also arranged the string orchestra for Sandy Lam’s album, GAIA, which swept several major awards including Best Album from the 24th Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan. Zhiyi had been actively involved in China’s most popular singer reality shows, I am a Singer, Grammy Salute to China Star, and X-Factor, by recreating classic songs.


    As a member of World Soundtrack Academy and The Recording Academy, Zhiyi holds BM and MM in music composition from Oberlin College Conservatory and the University of Louisville, where he studied with Randolph Coleman and Marc Satterwhite, and he is a superb pianist as well. He held several piano concerts of his own compositions and also performed, premiering new works in various concerts and music festivals. He resides in Los Angeles.

  • news

    Commissioned projects and upcoming events

    Monography of Chamber Music

    A series of chamber works are to be recorded into a monography CD, which will be released in 2018.

    Assignment of soundtrack for TV series "New Fortress Besieged" in 2018.

    A String Quartet work commissioned by Shanghai Conservatory of Music to be premiered by Ensemble Les Amis in 2018.

    A symphonic suite commissioned by Qingdao Symphony Orchestra to be premiered in 2019.

  • Works

    Music composed for various genres

    Film and TV Scores

    • Every Bastard Has A Sorrow, Original Film Score
    • The Man of Soccer, Original TV Series Score
    • Dali Holiday, Original Film Score
    • Highway of Love, Original Film Score
    • But Always, Original Film Score
    • The Flowers of War, Orchestration and Production of Film Score
    • Coming Home, Orchestration and Production of Film Score
    • Forbidden City 100, Original Documentary Score
    • Huai, the Open Door, Original Documentary Score
    • Jinling: Predestined to Buddha, Original Documentary Score
    • Spy Game in Ancient Soochow, Original TV Series Score
    • Feng Yu Diao Hua Lou, Original TV Series Score


    • The Vanishing River
    • The Aroma of Exotic
    • Color of Tears
    • Chrysalides


    • Maple in Twilight for Ensemble
    • Three Overlapping Sounds for String Quartet
    • Piano Trio for Violin, Violoncello and Piano
    • Three Art Songs for Soprano and Piano
    • Elegy for String Orchestra
    • Yue Wei Yang for Traditional Chinese Instruments Ensemble
    • Frailty for Tenor and Piano


    • Etude for Concert for Piano
    • Melody of Autume for Piano
    • Variation for Piano
    • The Grand Canal for Piano
    • Sonata for Piano


    • Home In Jiangsu, Theme Song of 1st Jiangsu Development Summit
    • Love Love Aloha, Theme Song of the Film I Love That Crazy Little Thing
    • The Man of Soccer, Theme Song of the TV Series The Man of Soccer
    • The Origin of Fates, Theme Song of the Documentary Jinling: Predestined to Buddha
    • Romantic Attachment, Theme Song of the Documentary The Louvre Meets the Forbidden City
    • The Sorrow from Wind and Rain, Theme Song of the TV Series Feng Yu Diao Hua Lou
    • The Echo of Strings, Theme Song of the TV Series Spy Game in Ancient Soochow

    2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

    • Fanfare for the Ceremony, Original Composition
    • You and Me, (Official Theme Song of 2008 Beijing Olympics, Performed by Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan) Orchestration
    • Dream of the Five Rings, Orchestration
    • Ritual Music, Orchestration
    • Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, Orchestration
  • Recordings

    The Official Album for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

    2008, Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee


    Tomorrow I Am Marrying You Baroque Camerata

    2014, Wind Music

    Orchestral Masters, Vol. 2

    The Aroma of Exotic 

    2014, Ablaze Records

    But Always

    Original Motion Picture Score

    2015, Z-1 Music Records

    Highway of Love

    Original Motion Picture Score

    2015, Z-1 Music Records

    Dali Holiday

    Original Motion Picture Score

    2017, Z-1 Music Records

    Collection of Excellent Works by Alumni from SHCM

    The 90th Anniversary of Shanghai Conservatory of Music

    2017, Shanghai Conservatory of Music

  • Listen

    Sample clips in different genres

    Yunnan Scenery

    Film Score

    Track from the Film Score

    Dali Holiday

    Romantic Attachment


    Theme song of the documentary The Louvre Meets the Forbidden City, vocal by Shilei Chang.

    Elegy for Strings

    Contemporary Classical

    Lviv chamber orchestra, Conductor Ferdinando Nazzaro,
    St. Maria Magdalena's Church, Lviv, Ukraine

  • reviews

    "Zhiyi's music demonstrates an innate lyricism, and also shows a great deal of craft and skill. Like many composers he seeks to fuse the music of Asian heritage with the techniques and forms of Western classical music, and he does so in a very convincing manner. His Asian background is apparent, but he avoids clichés and the obvious. His music demonstrates a broad emotional range, as well, and he can paint effectively on both large- and small-scale musical canvases."

    -Marc Satterwhite, Director of Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition

    "The greatest composer of all time in our opera house."

    -Guoyong Zhang, Former president of Shanghai Opera House

    The Aroma of Exotic

    "The Aroma of Exotic is very interesting and can be viewed as a cross-cultural experience by an Occidental experiencing Oriental culture or vice versa. At times I was reminded of the dawn section of Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe, and I liked this work a lot."

    -Geoff Pearce, Music & Vision

    Elegy for Strings

    "The score is deep and inspired by an exceptional musical talent! "

    - Ferdinando Nazzaro, Artistic Director of KLK New Music

    Three Overlapping Sounds

    "This three-movement piece unfolds varied waves of sentiments by distinct expressions of strings. The first part creates an atmosphere where all four instruments resonate as a group in terms of the dynamic change, the shifting of harmony and the collocation of melodic lines. Though it has a long breath and very delicate sound, a latent tension is possessed within the drive of adagio. The second part reveals an inside throbbing by imitating wings of insects to portrait those subtle affections, which touch our inner feelings in a sentimental way. The third part is relatively contrastive, from a tranquil start to an insanely wild presto, then back to peace ultimately. It reflects certain unpredictable mood that twists without signs. The piece adopts western form and vocabulary, yet conveys implicit oriental flavor."

    -Alice Jiang, Music Weekly Journal


    "The skills in composition and orchestration are very achieved, and the writing tasteful and touching."

    -Gabriel Yared, Academy Award-winning Composer

    Three Art Songs

    "They sound like an opera!"

    -Morton Subotnick, Composer

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