meet composer Xu Tang

In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Xu Tang.


I was born in Beijing, where I received my early education, including music theory and piano. I moved to New Zealand in 2009. I completed my MMus 1st Class Honours in Composition (A+) at the University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music in 2014, with support of the Graham Scholarship in Music and FASS Master Thesis Award. In 2015, I was awarded a three-year full Doctoral Scholarship for my PhD in Composition at the University of Waikato – Conservatorium of Music under Prof. Martin Lodge, Dr Michael Williams, Prof. Gao Ping. In 2016, I was awarded the University of Waikato Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship. I was the recipient of the 2018 Wallace Group Creative & Performing Arts Person of the Year Award.

I have won numerous international and national composition competitions including 2018 Leopold Auer International Composers Competition in St Petersburg, Russia (Honorary First Degree); Osmose Intermezzo 2017 in Belgium (Winner); RMN Classical in UK (Winner); New Vision Composition Competition of the 20th International Chopin & Friends Festival in USA (3rd Prize); RMN Classical International Recording Competition in UK (Winner); NZTrio Composing Competition 2017 (Winner); Lilburn Trust Composition Competition in Hamilton, First Prize (2018), First Prize and Performance Prize (2014), First Prize (2013).

As a composer, my works have been presented by a wide range of artists in USA, UK, Belgium, China, Japan, New Zealand. Highlights of my performances include my work for cello octet it was premiered by an all-star cello ensemble, including international soloist Santiago Cannon-Valencia, Matthias Balzat, James Tennant, Richard Aaron, Edward King, New Zealand leading cellist Callum Hall, Jacky Siu, Yotam Levy at the Waikato International Cello Fest 2016, and then performed in USA by UMich Cello Ensemble, organized by Professor Richard Aaron of Juilliard School of Music and University of Michigan; In 2017, my work for piano trio was performed by Aurelian Trio at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in UK; My work for violin and piano was commissioned and premiered by Isomura Brothers in Tokyo, Japan and followed by other performances in Okayama, Hokkaido, Beijing and GuangZhou; In 2018, I was commissioned by Tencent Beijing for writing soundtrack for 2018 FAI World Drone Racing Championships, and it was performed at Shenzhen Universiade Center Stadium; my work for orchestra was commissioned and premiered by Hillcrest High School Orchestra at ITM Festival in 2019.

Recently, my work for piano trio was performed by New Zealand Chamber Soloists in the NZCS 2019 China Tour. In 2020, my work for solo piano was performed by American/Chinese pianist Xing Wang at the Sydney Opera House. The work was also featured in a new CD, produced and released worldwide in 2018 through RMN Music Record Label of London.

In 2018, I was a guest composition lecturer at the Conservatorium of Music, at the University of Waikato and a teaching assistant at the UoW Music Department for the course – Writing Music for Screen. As a musicologist, I was invited to present a composition seminar at the Conservatory of Music – Capital Normal University in 2017. My research paper was presented at the 2016 New Zealand International Musicological Society Conference.

My recent work for solo cello and orchestra was premiered by international soloist Matthias Balzat and conductor Peter Scholes, with Auckland Chamber Orchestra in 2019 in New Zealand. This work was commissioned by the Wallace Foundation.

I am writing a newly commissioned work for solo cello and it will be recorded and performed at the end of the year in New Zealand.


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