“A young talent with a bright future...”
-Former Ambassador of China to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming
Meilina Tsui (b. 1993) is an award-winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, radio producer and presenter, and advocate for youth artistic development based in Orlando, Florida. Born in Almaty, Kazakhstan and raised in Hong Kong, Meilina is a composer who “popularizes Kazakh music tradition” (Kazakhstan International News Agency, Kazinform) and creates works that uniquely combine elements of Eurasian and South-East Asian cultures. She is the first Chinese classical composer of Dungan descent, an underrepresented ethnic minority group from Central Asia, whose music has been gaining international recognition.
Tsui's music, described by The Aspen Times as "irresistible, and emotionally convincing," has been performed and read across Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East by the National Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Lontano Ensemble, Radio Television Hong Kong Chamber Soloists, MR. Quartet & City Contemporary Dance Company, PHACE Ensemble, members of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Windpipe Chinese Music Ensemble, TURAN Ethno-folk Ensemble, Romer String Quartet, Quartetto Indaco, Israeli Chamber Project, Mivos Quartet, Kazakh State String Quartet, Converge Quartet, Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble, Nancy Loo & Mary Wu Piano Duo, Irvine Arditti, and Fleming Artist, Key'mon W. Murrah, among others; and broadcast by NAXOS Music & Video Libraries, London arts radio "Resonance fm," RTHK Radio 4, and Channel 31.
Meilina’s works have won numerous accolades. Her Nomadic Trails for chamber orchestra won both the 2021 ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award from the University of Michigan and the 2022 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Her String Quartet No. 2 "Kazakh Steppe," in which Tsui imitates the sounds of Kazakh ethnic instruments, has sparked a special interest among string players and listeners worldwide. In 2018, it has won the Audience-Vote Prize at the Intimacy of Creativity Festival in Hong Kong, where she was a Composer Fellow, and the I Creation Mivos Quartet Composition Prize in New York City; it also won the Musicus Society Call For Scores in Hong Kong, got selected out of 2,200 works for the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra (Los Angeles) Call for Scores, and was a finalist for the 2020 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. The piece has had its premieres in Italy, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, New York City, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Tel-Aviv, Chautauqua, and Del Mar. In 2018, Tsui was the main featured composer at the “Beyond Boundaries, Beyond Time: Hong Kong-Kazakhstan,” held in Almaty, concert that marked the Secretary for HK Home Affairs Bureau’s first official visit to Kazakhstan. In celebration of the HKSAR’s 20th anniversary in 2017, she was the youngest and only female composer featured at the London “Hong Kong Music Series.”
As a strong supporter of cultural and racial diversity and inclusion, Tsui wrote a piece called Ay-Ay, Bopem (a Kazakh Lullaby Without Words), commissioned by leading members of the Lexington Philharmonic and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras for the ArtsWave Isolation Commissions, centered on themes of racial injustice and cultural healing. In 2022, Tsui was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera and Asia Society Texas Center to write a family-friendly chamber opera, titled The Big Swim, which will be performed for 12 consecutive years during the Lunar New Year festivities in the US, starting from 2024. Her other notable commissions include works for Aspen Music School & Festival, Hong Kong Government Home Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio Television Hong Kong, Musicus Society, Hong Kong Composers Guild and The Chinese University of Hong Kong Art Museum.
International festivals that have featured Tsui's works include Asian Composers' League Festival (Vietnam), highSCORE Festival (Italy), Asia-Europe New Music Festival (Russia), All-Russian Young Composers Festival (Russia), Asia Pacific International Songwriting Camp (Taiwan), Intimacy of Creativity (Hong Kong), Vienna Summer Music Festival (Austria), and Aspen Music Festival & School (United States), where she was a Susan & Ford Schumann Centre Composer Fellow. This year, Tsui has been featured as a Composer Fellow at the Chautauqua Opera Company, Del Mar International Composers Symposium, and Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.
For her academic excellence and music achievements, Tsui has been awarded full scholarships since her high school years till the end of her Doctoral studies in Composition. She earned a B.A. in Music with First-Class Honors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong under the Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarship, a M.Mus. in Composition with Distinction from King’s College London under the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme, awarded by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong, and a D.M.A. in Composition with High Pass from the University of Michigan under the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund, and the Composers & Authors Society Hong Kong Scholarship. At the University of Michigan, Tsui studied with Professors Bright Sheng and Michael Daugherty, and worked as a Graduate Student Instructor of Composition, Music Theory, and Aural Skills.