Tian Zhou Associate Professor of Composition


  • Composition

403 Music Practice Building
East Lansing, MI 48824


Other Links:


Zhou Tian [pronounced JOH TEE-en; Zhou is his last name] is associate professor of composition at Michigan State University College of Music. 

Critically acclaimed for his lush and distinctive musical voice, Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian seeks inspiration from different cultures and strives to mix them seamlessly into a musically satisfying combination for performers and audience alike. 

Described as “absolutely beautiful” and “utterly satisfying” (Fanfare), his compositions have been performed by major orchestras and performers in the United States and abroad. His recent work, Concerto for Orchestra—commissioned, premiered, and recorded by the Cincinnati Symphony and Music Director Louis Langrée—was nominated for a 2018 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. His large-scale suite for soloists, orchestra, and chorus, The Grand Canal, was performed during a nationally televised celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. His music has been performed repeatedly at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and broadcast on NPR and PBS.

Born into a musical family in Hangzhou, China, Zhou attended Shanghai Conservatory before moving to the United States. He holds degrees from the Curtis Institute (B.M.), the Juilliard School (M.M.), and USC Thornton School of Music (D.M.A.). His principle teachers included Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Rouse, and Stephen Hartke. He is a first-prize winner of Washington International Composers Competition, ASCAP/Lotte Lehmann Art Song Competition, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Glick Award, and has held Composition Fellowships from Tanglewood and Aspen. For a complete list of works and sound/video samples please visit ZhouTianMusic.com.

Note: following a traditional spelling of Chinese-American artists, the composer’s family name is Zhou and his given name is Tian. When only the composer’s last name is listed in the program, it should be listed as “Zhou.” The full name should be listed as “Zhou Tian.” He goes by Zhou (Joh), or formally, Dr. Zhou. Thank you.

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

Petals of Fire:

Red Trees, Wrinkled Cliffs: