ComposerNominated by Casa da Música Porto Season 2024-2026

Photo © Lukas Jakob Löcker

Yiran Zhao (*1988, CN) is a composer, performer, and sound artist based in Berlin.

Her portrait CD from WERGO – EDITION ZEITGENÖSSISCHE MUSIK to be released in 2022.

Her works focus on various modes of expression incorporating both musical and performative elements, lighting, visual arts, and other media. With great interest in the physicality of performance, since she came to Europe she has been working extensively with the human body and objects as compositional material.


Zhao studied composition in CCOM Beijing, HMDK Stuttgart, and the Musik-Akademie Basel; and also scenic composition in ABPU Linz, where she also taught. Within the framework of the KUNSTWELTEN from the AdK Berlin, she led workshops for students of various age-groups in Bitterfeld-Wolfen in 2018 and 2019. She has worked with numerous artistic groups and festivals in Europe, Asia, and North America; including Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Recherche, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Ensemble Phoenix Basel, Ensemble Garage, Ensemble Phace, ensemble this ensemble that, the Philharmonia Chorus Stuttgart, SPOR Festival for Contemporary Music and Sound Århus, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Festival Internacional Zaragoza Contemporánea, ZEIT RÄUME Basel Biennale für neue Musik und Architektur, WIEN MODERN, Progressive Art HA-SS Fest Armenia, and many others.


She is supported by Ernst von Siemens Stiftung as composer-in-residence and concert curator for the “Forum of Younger Composers 2016” at the Bavarian Academy of Arts. She is recipient of the INITIAL Special Grant from Akademie der Künste (AdK) Berlin 2021, Berlin-Basel fellowship of HGK Basel & AdK Berlin in Atelier Mondial 2019, Berlin fellowship of AdK Berlin 2017, Karlsruhe Composition Competition 2015, stipend of the Hochschule für Musik Basel 2014, the Deutschlandstipendium 2013/14, the State Stipend China 2010, Prizewinner of “Yanhuang” Composition Competition China 2010, Con Tempo Young Chamber Music Competition China 2009, the Ensemble Recherche Composition Competition 2008.


Zhao is composer and sound designer of OBLIVIA, an international performance company based in Helsinki. Since 2019 they have been working together on the Musiktheater-Trilogy series with Verdrängen Verdrängen Verdrängen, OBSESSIONS, and PLEASURE. The 2nd Music-theater work OBSESSIONS from OBLIVIA is co-production of Theater Bremen and Oper Wuppertal with Oblivia as part of NOperas!. The premiere will be on 19th of February 2022 in Theater Bremen, with funding through the initiative of the Fonds Experimentelles Musiktheater of NRW KULTURsekretariat and Kunststiftung NRW.


The previous Music-theater piece, Verdrängen Verdrängen Verdrängen from OBLIVIA is touring since 2020 at the Theater Rampe and ECLAT new music festival Stuttgart (DE), ARGEkultur Salzburg (AT), Espoo City Theatre (FI), SPOR Festival for Contemporary Music and Sound Århus (DK), Wunder der Prärie Festival at the Nationaltheater Mannheim (DE), Tampereen Työväen Teatteri (FI), Theater Chur (CH), Schwankhalle Bremen (DE).


The 3rd Music-theater piece, PLEASURE, will be presented in 2023.

Concerts Concerts Concerts Concerts Concerts
  • 25.03.2025
    Casa da Música Porto
    Remix Ensemble Casa da Música
  • 15.05.2025
    Kölner Philharmonie
    Ensemble Modern
  • dd
    Philharmonie Luxembourg
    Ensemble Lucilin