Attention, Kansas City: We have a Pulitzer Prize winner in our midst. (No, it isn't The Pitch's Peter Rugg for his review of Black Swan. We're surprised, too.) It's Professor Zhou Long at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who won for his composition of "Madame White Snake."
"Madame White Snake," which premiered on February 26, 2010, with the Boston Opera at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, is -- according to UMKC's website -- a "deeply expressive opera that draws on a Chinese folk tale to blend the musical traditions of the East and the West."
Born in 1953 in Beijing, Zhou grew up during China's Cultural Revolution. This is what UMKC's article says:
"Deeply grounded in the spectrum of his Chinese heritage, 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 music that stretches Western instruments eastward and Chinese instruments westward, achieving an exciting and fertile common ground. 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 natural scenes of roaring winds and fierce wild fires made a profound and lasting impression."
Read more here.