Discipline: Music Composition

Huang Ruo

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2010, 2012

Huang Ruo has been lauded by The New York Times for having “a distinctive style.” His vibrant and inventive musical voice draws equal inspiration from Chinese ancient and folk music, Western avant-garde, experimental, noise, natural and processed sound, rock, and jazz. His diverse compositional works span from orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and dance, to cross-genre, sound installation, architectural installation, multimedia, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film. His music has been performed by major orchestras internationally. His nine operas include M. Butterfly, Book of Mountains and Seas, Angel Island, and An American Soldier, which was named one of the best classical music events in 2018 by The New York Times.

Ensembles that have premiered and performed his music include the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York City Opera, Opera Hong Kong, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Asko Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, and Quatuor Diotima.

At MacDowell in 2012, he worked on Bound, which was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera for a 2014 premiere. In 2024, he is working on The Monkey King, a new opera in one act reimagining the irresistible creation at the center of Wu Cheng'en’s Journey to the West, arguably the most popular and beloved novel in Chinese classical literature.

Made at MacDowell

Fellow Works Supported by MacDowell

Bound (Opera)



Huang Ruo worked in the Watson studio.

Built in 1916 in memory of Regina Watson of Chicago, a musician and teacher, this studio was donated by a group of her friends, along with funds for its maintenance. Originally designed to serve as a composers’ studio with room for performance, Watson was used as a recital hall for chamber music for a…

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