Executive Director of Chinese Cultural Productions
Gang Situ was born in Shanghai. His father was Music Director and Conductor of the Shanghai Philharmonic, and his mother was a mezzo-soprano with the Shanghai Opera. After early studies in piano and violin, he was sent during the Cultural Revolution to a rural area for “re-education,” interrupting his music education for four years. When he was twenty he returned to Shanghai and enrolled in the music department at Shanghai Teachers’ University, whose faculty he joined eventually, and he continued his composition studies at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Situ came to the United States in 1985 and three years later received a master’s degree in composition from the Music and Arts Institute of San Francisco. He lives in San Francisco today and is co-founder of San Francisco’s Chinese Cultural Productions. As one of the most active Chinese-born composers in the United States, Situ has composed works for orchestra, chorus, dance, and chamber ensembles.
Situ is the recipient of many honors and awards, from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, San Francisco Arts Commission, Shanghai International Music Festival, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Creative Work Fund, and Ross McKee Foundation. In 1998, Situ was named one of six national recipients of a three-year commissioning award from Meet The Composer’s New Residencies Program. Through the residencies, he has composed scores for the Lily CAI Dance Company in collaboration with the Alexander String Quartet, Dimensions Dance Theater, erhu master Jibing Chen and the New Century Chamber Orchestra.
Situ’s composition reflects the diversity of his musical background. His Double Concerto for Violin and Erhu has been performed by orchestras around the world since its premiere in 1994, including San Francisco Symphony, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, I Music de Montreal Chamber Orchestra, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong kong and many others. In 1997, San Francisco Symphony gave the world premiere of his San Francisco Suite, which includes solo parts for Chinese, Japanese, South America, and African American jazz instruments to dramatize the numerous musical traditions flourishing in the City. In 2004, he created new rhythms for traditional lion dances in A Musical Dialogue with Dancing Lions, which was premiered by Melody of China and Loong Mah Sing See Wu. More recently, Situ composed a Concerto for Erhu, Yangqin and Orchestra for Melody of China and The Women’s Philharmonic (2001), Si Ji for Lily Cai Dance Company and cellist Robin Bonnell (2003), Untitled for San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (2005), a Concerto for Cello and Strings for New Century Chamber Orchestra (2006), a Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra for the Sacramento Philharmonic (2007), Six Images for Quartet x 2 for Melody of China and San Francisco Guitar Quartet (2007), Leaving Bai Di for Peninsula Symphony (2008) and six works for the San Francisco Symphony’s Annual Chinese New Year Celebration Concert, Red Seal-Strings Calligraphy II (2002), Chinese Opera Suite (2004), Echoes (2005), Festival Suite (2005), Drum Overture (2006) and Jasmine Flower (2009). His first opera, Grand Seducers: Giovanni meets Ximen Qing, premiered in May 2006 at San Francisco’s Chinese Culture Center and was profiled on KQED.