Night-Shining White (2014)

Commissioned by Colgate University for The Empire Brass

Duration: 6 minutes

Scoring: 2 trumpets, horn, trombone, tuba

The Empire Brass

6 April 2014, Colgate University, New York

Score Sample


Excerpt (full below)

Program Note

I’ve always been amazed by music’s the awesome power to make our mind travel through time and space, and to stimulate our imagination to understand other cultures in a way that’s completely intuitive and universal. As a composer, I’m influenced by both Chinese and American cultures, and I want my music to be a mosaic of those influences. In Night-Shining White, a short work for The Empire Brass commissioned by Colgate University, the inspiration came from a Chinese painting about a horse of the same name. Night-Shining White was said to be a loyal companion to Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty of China (618-907), and supposedly had a luminous moon-white coat. The emperor loved it so much that he commissioned renowned painter Han Gan to create a portrait of the horse, which now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is considered one of the greatest paintings of the dynasty. I was drawn to the expressiveness and liveliness of the painting. (Coincidentally, I was lecturing about the Tang Dynasty in my Core China course at Colgate as I was composing the piece.) As a piece of music, I thought that the dark color of the brass quintet would create a fitting soundscape to express muscularity as well as lyricism.

Zhou Tian

Performed by The Empire Brass (LIVE)


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