Su Cong


Su Cong
Composer
Although overshadowed by Tan Dun, Zhou Long and other of his peers among China’s ‘New Tide’ (xinchao) musical avant-garde (see Third Generation /composers), Su Cong holds the unusual distinction of having won an Oscar, a Grammy, a Golden Globe and other international awards for his contribution to the soundtrack of Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic The Last Emperor (1987). Su studied composition in Beijing and in Germany, where he attended the München Musik Hochschule and the Ludwigsburg Film Academy. Throughout his career he has pursued an interest in multimedia, composing music for ballet, film, opera and ‘media opera’, in addition to chamber and symphonic pieces.
His affinity for cinema led to the inclusion of his folk-influenced work Paper Emperor in the original score for the Bertolucci film. Su’s subsequent international awards were widely celebrated in China but are deceptive, as he contributed less than two minutes of music to the soundtrack of Merry Christmas Mister Lawrence which was largely written by Japanese composer Ryûichi Sakamoto and US rock musician David Byrne.
He remains active as a composer of concert works incorporating everything from full orchestra to drums and electric guitar, and continues to compose film soundtracks, including the score for Ning Ying’s On the Beat (Minjing gushi, 1995). Su works frequently in Germany, where he has held the post of professor of composition at the Film Academy in Baden-Württemberg. Among his major compositions are the ballet Distance to Eternity, the opera The Franklin Expedition, and the multimedia chamber opera When the Sun Is Rising.
DENNIS REA

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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