A composer of opera, symphonic and chamber music, film, and conceptual public art, Huang Ruo creates work inspired by Asian culture and Asian American stories to be programmed and performed in the world today. He is inventively mining and transforming multiple musical traditions with a sense of empathy and responsibility, reanimating what has been misnamed, forgotten and obscured. In the last ten years he has composed nine operas which include an operatic version of the Tony Award-winning play M. Butterfly (with libretto is by David Henry Hwang); The Book of Mountains and Seas, drawn from a classic compilation of Chinese mythology; Angel Island, inspired by Chinese poems carved on the walls of the Angel Island immigration station in the San Francisco Bay, where immigrants were sometimes held for years in brutal conditions, and An American Soldier, based on the true story of Chinese-American Army Pvt. Danny Chen, found dead in a guard tower at his base in Afghanistan and on the ensuing court-martials of Chen’s fellow soldiers.

""To me, writing music has reasons, which can be to inspire, to connect, to express, to tell a story, to love, to mourn, to resonate with people, with our world and time...""


Photo: Max Lee