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About the Prize

Zhou Long is the 2012-2013 recipient of the Elise L. Stoeger prize!

The Stoeger Prize for composers of chamber music was established by a generous gift from Milan Stoeger as a memorial to his wife, Elise, and in gratitude for the music that had been one of the principal joys of their lives. The Prize is awarded in recognition of achievement in the field of chamber music composition rather than for a specific work.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2012-2013 Elise L. Stoeger Prize has been awarded to Chinese composer Zhou Long. The Stoeger Prize is a $25,000 cash award. The largest prize of its kind, it is given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition. Chamber Music Society Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han commented on the announcement:

“We are thrilled that Zhou Long has been named the 2012-2013 Stoeger Prize Winner. With his rich and diverse catalogue of chamber music, we cannot think of a more deserving composer for this award. Not only is his voice original and exacting, but his ability to synthesize Western and Eastern sensibilities is unsurpassed in our estimation. He joins a truly stellar roster of contemporary composers who have been awarded the Stoeger Prize, adding luster to an already incandescent list of chamber music’s greatest living advocates.”

Zhou Long talks about his work and musical background as he responds to the news of winning the Stoeger Prize:


Zhou Long is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the entire spectrum of his Chinese heritage, including folk, philosophical, and spiritual ideals, he is a pioneer in transferring the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments and ensembles. His creative vision has resulted in a new music that stretches Western instruments eastward and Chinese instruments westward, achieving an exciting and fertile common ground. In 2011 Zhou Long was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his first opera Madame White Snake. In their citation the jurors described the work as “a deeply expressive opera that draws on a Chinese folk tale to blend the musical traditions of the East and the West.” Zhou Long is currently Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Zhou Long was born into an artistic family and began piano lessons at an early age. During the Cultural Revolution, he was sent to a rural state farm, where the bleak landscape with roaring winds and ferocious wild fires made a profound and lasting impression. He resumed his musical training in 1973, studying composition, music theory, and conducting, as well as Chinese traditional music. In 1977 he enrolled in the first composition class at the reopened Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Following graduation in 1983, he was appointed composer-in-residence with the National Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra of China. Zhou Long travelled to the United States in 1985 under a fellowship to attend Columbia University, where he studied with Chou Wen-Chung, Mario Davidovsky, and George Edwards, receiving a Doctor of Musical Arts in 1993. 

Listen to musical excerpts of Zhou Long's chamber music compositions:

Su (Tracing Back) for flute and harp

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Dhyana for piano, flute, clarinet, violin, and cello

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Ding for clarinet, percussion and double bass

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Five Maskers for 2 trumpets, trombone, and tuba

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Metal, Stone, Silk, Bamboo for flute, clarinet, percussion, pipa, zheng, violin, and cello, II. Zhong Xu

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Wuji for piano, zheng, and percussion

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