updated 24 March 2011

Leilei Tian

Chinese composer born 31 July 1971 in Jiangsu.

Leilei Tian was born in 1971 in Jiangsu Province, China, and began studying the piano at the age of six. From 1988 to 1995, she studied composition with Zhenmin Xu at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. In 1997, she undertook further study in Sweden with Ole Lützow-Holm at the Gothenburg Conservatory, graduating with an advanced degree in 2001.

She attended the Darmstadt Summer Course, Centre Acanthes, Royaumont Voix Nouvelles, the International Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, IRCAM Summer Academy, and the Schwaz Avant-garde Academy in Austria, allowing her to study with composers including Brian Ferneyhough, Salvatore Sciarrino, Gérard Grisey, Louis Andriessen, and Boguslaw Schaeffer. In 2002-2003, she participated in the IRCAM Cursus (IRCAM’s composition and computer music course) with Philippe Leroux, Jonathan Harvey, Tristan Murail, Brian Ferneyhough, Philippe Manoury, and Philippe Hurel. She has lived in Paris since then.

She has received commissions from ensembles and festivals including the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (wwww-M, 2004), Ereprijs Ensemble (Xiu II, 2004), Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain in Lyon (Paradisiers, 2005), Nieuw Ensemble (Autre at Gaudeamus Music Week, 2006), and Ensemble intercontemporain (Burning Rose, premiered at the Agora Festival in 2007). Her works have also been performed by Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, Gothenburg Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon), Strasbourg Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, and Earplay Ensemble, in festivals including ISCM World Music Days, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Stockholm New Musik, and the Venice Biennale, and broadcast on France Musique, Deutschlandfunk, Swedish Radio P2, Polish Radio, and Dutch Radio.

Leilei Tian has received numerous accolades, including the “Citta ‘di Udine” Prize in 1999 for Wu, the GRAME Prize and the Gaudeamus Prize in 1998 for Zhan Zidu (1998). Her orchestral work Sâdhana (2000) was awarded both the Besançon Composition and the ISCM World Music Days (Zurich) Prizes.

From 2006 to 2008, she was composer-in-residence at the CoMA Music Center in Sweden, which led to the composition and performance of four pieces, including Jubilee, Jubilate (2007) and La caverne des Idées (2010). She collaborated with French video artist Cécile Le Talec on two works: Paradoxe céleste (2008) and Mukti, Mukta (2010).

A CD of her works was released by Chamber Sound (Stockholm) in September 2010. Her saxophone concerto Open Secret, composed for French saxophonist Claude Delangle and the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, was recorded and released by BIS Records in 2011. She was a resident at the Villa Medici in 2012-13.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2011


Leilei Tian.

  • Solo (excluding voice)
    • elec ircam Ircam cursus Illusion réelle for saxophone and electronics (2003), 10 mn, Inédit
  • Chamber music
  • Instrumental ensemble music
    • Peace for large orchestra (1993), 20 mn, Inédit
    • Wang Yue Looking at the Mountain Yue, for nine instruments (1994), 9 mn, Inédit
    • Ruining for large orchestra (1995), 30 mn, Inédit
    • Zhan Zidu The punishment of Zidu, for string orchestra (1998), 13 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Out of the temple for ensemble (1999), 3 mn
    • Sâdhana for large orchestra (2000), 14 mn, Salabert
    • Xiu I for nine instruments (2001), 5 mn, Inédit
    • elec Xiu II for ensemble (2004), 11 mn
    • elec Paradisiers for ensemble and tape (2005), 13 mn
    • Autre for eleven instruments (2006), 10 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Burning Rose for ensemble (2007), 14 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Dance in five for orchestra (2007), 6 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Xiu III for wind ensemble (2007), 11 mn, Svensk Musik
  • Concertant music
    • wwww-M for saxophone quartet and orchestra (2004), 17 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Jubilee, Jubilate for trombone, percussion and string orchestra (2007), 11 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Open Secret for soprano saxophone and Chinese orchestra (2009), 15 mn, Svensk Musik
  • Vocal music and instrument(s)
    • elec To Beijing Opera for soprano, cello, percussion and tape (1998), 10 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Jio Quanzi I for three female voices, violin and viola (2000), 8 mn
    • Paradoxe céleste for flute, soprano, calls, percussion and video (2008), 15 mn
    • elec Mukti, Mukta for soprano, cello, percussion, soundtrack and video (2010), 15 mn
  • A cappella vocal music
  • Electronic music / fixed media / mechanical musical instruments
    • elec Kitchen electroacoustic piece (1999), 3 mn
    • elec Beyond electroacoustic piece (2001), 5 mn
  • 2010
  • 2009
    • Jardin demain for sextet, 9 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Open Secret for soprano saxophone and Chinese orchestra, 15 mn, Svensk Musik
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
    • Autre for eleven instruments, 10 mn, Svensk Musik
    • From Amen to Amen for trombone and percussion, 11 mn, Svensk Musik
  • 2005
  • 2004
    • elec Xiu II for ensemble, 11 mn
    • wwww-M for saxophone quartet and orchestra, 17 mn, Svensk Musik
  • 2003
  • 2002
    • Moult for flute and cello, 10 mn, Inédit
  • 2001
    • elec Beyond electroacoustic piece, 5 mn
    • Water sleeve for eight mixed voices a cappella, 20 mn
    • Xiu I for nine instruments, 5 mn, Inédit
    • Yinyun for recorder quartet, 11 mn, Inédit
  • 2000
    • Jio Quanzi I for three female voices, violin and viola, 8 mn
    • Sâdhana for large orchestra, 14 mn, Salabert
  • 1999
  • 1998
    • Melting for guitar and vibraphone, 9 mn, Svensk Musik
    • elec To Beijing Opera for soprano, cello, percussion and tape, 10 mn, Svensk Musik
    • Zhan Zidu The punishment of Zidu, for string orchestra, 13 mn, Svensk Musik
  • 1997
    • Dyeing for violin, horn and celesta, 9 mn, Svensk Musik
  • 1995
    • Ruining for large orchestra, 30 mn, Inédit
  • 1994
    • Wang Yue Looking at the Mountain Yue, for nine instruments, 9 mn, Inédit
  • 1993
    • Peace for large orchestra, 20 mn, Inédit
  • 1992
    • Huan Qi for string quartet, 10 mn, Inédit


  • Berit BERGENDAHL**, «** Sound and Mantra from China – Leilei Tian’s orchestra music », Göteborgs-Posten, photos par Niklas Maupoix, Göteborg*,* Suède, 2001.
  • Walter EKELIN, « Interview with Leilei Tian»*,* Kulturen, Stockholm, 18 septembre 2007.
  • Johanna ETHNERSSON, « Leilei Tian and her music »*, Nutida Musik*, Stockholm, janvier 2006.
  • Marie-Claire FAYRET, « Le Plein du Vide - Les compositeurs chinois depuis la Révolution culturelle », SCÉRÉN – CNDP, avril 2006.
  • Catherine HEYDEN , « Une nouvelle génération de compositeurs (Tremplin 2007) », Accents n° 32, revue de l’Ensemble intercontemporain, en ligne sur http://ensembleinter.boceto.fr/accents-online (lien vérifié en mars 2011), Paris, 2010.
  • LIJIN, « Paradoxe Céleste de Leilei Tian »*, *Music Weekly, Pékin, 19 mars 2008.
  • Wang YUHE, « Contemporary music composer Leilei Tian », dans Music of the People, photos par Li Yimin, Pékin, février 2004.


  • Leilei TIAN, Open Secret, 1 cd BIS, 2011, à paraître.
  • Leilei TIAN, From Amen to Amen ; Roaring in the clouds ; Jubilee, Jubilate,  Axelsson & Nilsson Duo : Jonny Axelsson : percussion, Ivo Nilsson : trombone, Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra, avec des œuvres de Volker Staub, Jonny Axelsson et Ivo Nilsson, 1 cd Chamber Sound, 2010, CSCD11042.
  • Leilei TIAN, ensemble Intrégrales, dans « Traces of Asia », ensemble Intrégrales, avec des œuvres de Alireza Mashayeki, Misato Mochizuki, Kee Yong Chong, Suren Soronzonbold, Jamilia Jazylbekova, 1 cd Label Coviello Classics, 2006, COV40613.
  • Leilei TIAN, Wu, dans « Contemporanea 2002, Interensemble, direction : Bernardino Beggio, avec des œuvres de Marco Bertona, Antonio Giacometti, Satoshi Ohmae, Fabrizio Fanticini, Kee Yong Chong, Roberto Filoseta et Antti Saario, 1 cd Taukay Edizioni Musicali, 2002, TauKay 123.

Liens Internet