Du Wei

b. 1978



Du Wei is a composer whose music is steeped in Chinese culture. Formerly a Composer-in-Residence at the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, she has won numerous awards in China and her compositions have been performed all over the world by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit, MDR Leipzig Radio Orchestra conducted with Kristjan Jarvi, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Orchestra of the Royal Danish Ballet, among others. The imagery, hue and rhythm presented in poetry and literature is a primary inspiration, and her ability to transform these elements into her musical language is clearly evident.


In Du Wei’s music, poetry and literature together serve as the main inspiration for her creative output. She has always been fascinated with imagery, hue and rhythm presented in poetry. She has the ability to transform these elements into her musical language, no matter speaking in drama, visuals, songful melodies, or sophisticated textures. She is known for characterizing female identities through music, such as Miss Duli in her orchestral work Niao Qing Si-The Interrupted Dream, and Charles Baudelaire’s women whose eyes “a candour that amazes” in her chamber work Exotic Perfume. Within her music, these female characters often struggle, wander, weep, smile, and reach the other shore of love. After her 2013 orchestral work, The Last Gold of Expired Star, her music style has started to move towards the exploration of a mysterious and vast philosophy realm.

Her main works include the opera Nora, orchestral works Niao Qing Si – The Interrupted Dream, The Last Gold of Expired Star, and Seven Nights, chamber music Nightmare in the Red Chamber, Exotic Perfume for voice and string orchestra, Tinge for Chinese traditional ensemble, and And I am dumb to tell for quintet, and music for contemporary ballet The Color of Love, The Golden Lotus, Early Spring.

In 2011, her work Niao Qing Si – The Interrupted Dream (for two Chinese instruments and the orchestra) was awarded the top honour at the Young Composer Programme organized by the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing. The HK Phil commissioned her as their composer-in-residence under the Robert Ho Foundation in 2015. The following year she was nominated for best original film score at the 53rd Golden Horse Awards with the film I am not Madame Bovary directed by Feng Xiaogang.

Her works have been performed all over the world. These include the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of maestro Charles Dutoit, MDR Leipzig Radio Orchestra under the baton of maestro Kristjan Jarvi, L'Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestra of Royal Danish Ballet, National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra, the Nieuw Ensemble (The Netherlands), TIMF Ensemble (Korea) and Ensemble Dialog (Switzerland).

In addition, she has also composed for screen and TV productions, such as the film I am not Madame Bovary (2016), directed by Feng Xiaogang, The Warrior And The Wolf , a film directed by Tian Zhuangzhuang, A Dream in Red Mansions (2010), the TV drama series directed by Li Shaohong, and Heart Sutra (sung by Faye Wong), the ending song of the film After Shock directed by Feng Xiaogang.

Du Wei was admitted to Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing to study composition in 1996, and she obtained her Master's Degree in Composition in 2005. Her principle teachers include renowned composers Guo Wenjing, Shi Wanchuan and Dr. Fan Nanxing.