Born on 23 September 1955, Ye Xiaogang is regarded as one of the leading contemporary Chinese composers. From 1978 until 1983, he studied at the Central Conservatory of Music, China, where he was later appointed resident composer and lecturer. From 1987 he studied at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, New York. He has been taught by, amongst others, Minxin Du, Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner, Louis Andriessen and Alexander Goehr. Since 1993, he has divided his time between Beijing and Exton, Pennsylvania.
Ye’s oeuvre comprises symphonic works, chamber music for various instruments and stage works, as well as film music. He has received numerous prizes and awards, among them the 1982 Alexander Tcherepnin prize, the 1986 Japan Dance Star Ballet prize, and awards from the Urban Council of Hongkong (1987–94), the Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (1992), the China Cultural Promotion Society (1993), the Li Foundation, San Francisco (1994) and the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra (1996). He was a fellow of the Metropolitan Life Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts in 1996 and of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2012.
In August 2008, Ye Xiaogang’s piano concerto Starry Sky was premièred during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing by Lang Lang. Accompanied by dance and light shows, the live broadcast was watched by 3 billion people worldwide.