Professor Huang Ruo, a faculty member at the Purchase College School of the Arts Conservatory of Music, is a pianist and composer who resides in New York. He was the winner of the first Celebrate Asia composition competition and his work was performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The group promotes Asian classical musicians and arranges for them to to perform at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
Huang Ruo was born on Hainan Island in Southern China in the 1970's. His father began teaching him piano and composition when he was six , At age 12 he studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He moved to the United States in 1995 and received a bachelor's degree from Oberlin Conservatorty of Music and then master's and doctorate degrees in composition from the Julliard School.
He draws equal inspiration from Chinese folk, Western avant-garde, rock, and jazz to create his musical voice. His composition spans from orchestral and chamber works, to theatre, modern dance, sound installation, folk rock, and film. His works have been permiered and performed by orchestras and ensembles in the United States, Asia, and Europe.
"Yellow Earth" is about memory of his homeland and includes the sheng, a mouth organ with more than a thousand years of history. "I love the idea of using a Chinese instrument with a Western orchestra. It creates an interesting integration of colors and textures," he said in an interview with Asian Weekly. When told he had won, Huang was overjoyed. The work is not from ancient China but something new--his music is an integration of Western and Eastern cultures.