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“a young talent with a bright future...”                                
 - Former Ambassador of China to the UK, Liu Xiaoming


Meilina Tsui (b. 1993) is a Kazakhstan-born, Hong Kong-American composer, pianist, and educator based in Orlando, Florida. She is the first classical composer of Dungan descent whose music has been gaining international recognition. Tsui’s works explore her mixed heritage and uniquely intertwine elements of East Asian, Central Asian, and Western cultures.  

Described as "irresistible and emotionally convincing" (The Aspen Times), “high-spirited, lively, and colorful” (Texas Classical Review), her music has been commissioned and performed by Houston Grand Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Aspen Music School & Festival, Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Radio Television Hong Kong, Hong Kong Government Home Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Naples Philharmonic, Kazakh State Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Lontano Ensemble, PHACE Ensemble, Del Sol Quartet, Quartetto Indaco, Israeli Chamber Project, Mivos Quartet, Kazakh State String Quartet, and countertenor, Key'mon W. Murrah, among others. Her music has been featured by NAXOS Music & Video Libraries, London arts radio "Resonance fm," RTHK Radio 4, and Channel 31.

Tsui’s recent highlight in her compositional career has been her opera, The Big Swim, co-commissioned by Houston Grand Opera and Asia Society Texas Center, which was listed as one of the “Top 10 operas to see in the world during Spring/Winter 2024” by OPERAWIRE. The opera premiered with sold-out performances in February 2024 at the Asia Society in Houston, and marked the beginning of an annual tradition that will illuminate Lunar New Year celebrations in Houston for years to come. 

In 2023, Tsui was selected for a Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission, an initiative of the League of American Orchestras in partnership with American Composers Orchestra that will lead to performances by a consortium of five different US orchestras in the 2024-2025 season. In the same year, she was selected for the New Works Collective by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, for which she will write a new chamber opera to be premiered in 2025. 

Tsui has garnered numerous accolades in composition, including a 2023 OPERA America Opera Grant for Women Composers; 2022 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award; 2021 ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award from the University of Michigan; 2018 Mivos Composition Prize for Chinese Composers worldwide; and the 2018 Intimacy of Creativity Concert 'Audience Vote' Prize, among others. 

In 2021, during the surge of anti-Asian sentiments, Tsui, being a supporter of cultural and racial diversity and inclusion, wrote a piece called Ay-Ay, Bopem (a Kazakh Lullaby Without Words), commissioned by members of the Lexington Philharmonic and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras for the ArtsWave Isolation Commissions, centered on themes of racial injustice and cultural healing. Among other notable works is her String Quartet No. 2 "Kazakh Steppe,” which has received worldwide performances in Italy, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Tel Aviv, New York City, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Chautauqua, and Del Mar, and won numerous awards. In 2018, Tsui’s orchestral and chamber works were performed by leading Hong Kong and Kazakh artists at the “Beyond Boundaries, Beyond Time: Hong Kong-Kazakhstan” concert in Almaty, which marked the Secretary for Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau’s first official visit to Kazakhstan. In 2017, In celebration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s 20th anniversary, Tsui was the youngest and only woman composer featured at the “Hong Kong Music Series” in London, where her Six Miniature Pieces of Yin and Yang for two pianos was performed to great acclaim. 

Tsui has been a Composer Fellow at the Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong, Aspen Music Festival & School, Chautauqua Opera Company, Del Mar International Composers Symposium, and Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. She has also been a Composer-in-Residence at Musicus Society Hong Kong, a guest speaker at University of Houston, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, and Renaissance College Hong Kong, and served as an adjudicator for the Hong Kong Composers Guild’s NEW GENERATION Composition Competition. 

Aside from composing, Tsui has worked as a producer and presenter at Radio Television Hong Kong, where she presented works by living classical contemporary composers. She also served a two-year term on the Youth Square Management Advisory Committee, where she advocated for youth artistic development under the appointment of the Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau. 

Tsui holds music degrees from University of Michigan (DMA in Composition), King’s College London (MMus in Composition), and Chinese University of Hong Kong (BA in Music). Her mentors and composition teachers include Professors Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng, Gabriela Lena Frank, Christopher Theofanidis, Stephen Hartke, Lo Kingman, Silvina Milstein, and Wendy Wan-Ki Lee. 

High-resolution photo_Meilina Tsui (DMA
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