Zhou Tian

Associate Professor of Composition

Grammy-nominated Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian (JOH TEE-en) seeks inspiration from different cultures and strives to mix them seamlessly into a musically satisfying combination for performers and audience alike. The Wall Street Journal states his works “accomplish two important things: They remind us of how we got from there to here, and they refine that history by paying belated tribute to contributors who might otherwise be forgotten.”

His music — described as “absolutely beautiful…utterly satisfying” (Fanfare), “stunning” (the Cincinnati Enquirer), and “a prime example of 21st-century global multiculturalism” — has been performed by leading orchestras and performers in the United States and abroad, such as Jaap Van Zweden, Yuja Wang, Manfred Honeck, Long Yu, the New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony, “The President’s Own” US Marine Band, Dover Quartet, and Shanghai Symphony, where he recently served as the Artist-in-Residence. His Concerto for Orchestra, commissioned and recorded by the Cincinnati Symphony and Louis Langrée, earned him a GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2018, making him the first Chinese-born composer and the second Asian composer (following Tōru Takemitsu) honored in that category. In 2019, Beijing Music Festival named him “Artist of the Year.” In 2022, he became the first Asian-American composer to win the coveted Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association for Sinfonia.  

Born into a musical family in 1981 in Hangzhou, China, Zhou moved to the US when he was 19. Trained at the Curtis Institute (B.M.), the Juilliard School (M.M.), and the University of Southern California (D.M.A.), he studied with some of America’s finest composers, such as Jennifer Higdon and Christopher Rouse. He is associate professor of composition at Michigan State University.

For a complete list of works and sound/video samples please visit ZhouTianMusic.com.

  • Creative Work

    The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra presents Zhou Tian's Concerto for Orchestra 

    Sinfonia (for wind ensemble)

    Night Tour (for violin and piano)


  • Contact




    403 Music Practice Building
    East Lansing, MI 48824