Chinese composer Chen Qigang was awarded for his symphony creation by the French Society of Authors, Composers, and Editors of Music (SACEM), sources with SACEM said in Beijing Thursday.
Chen is the first Chinese musician and non-French composer receiving the prize.
SACEM, founded in 1850 by French music maestro Hector Berlioz, was the world's first organization to protect musicians' rights. Up to now, the organization has more than 100,000 members worldwide, including world-renowned musicians Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, etc. The organization has also protected the copyright of 25 million musical pieces covering almost all kinds of styles.
The prize for symphony creation is the highest prize marking a musician's contribution. Over the past 150 years, the prize went to top-class composers such as Saint-Sans, Charles Gounod, Vincentd' Indy, Gabriel Faure, Maurice Ravel, and Olivier Messiaen.
Chen Qigang was born into an artistic family and began his music education at a young age. He graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1983, majoring in composition. From 1984 to 1988, he studied in France with a grant from the French government and was accepted by Olivier Messiaen as his last and only student. Chen has won many major international awards for his compositions, including first prize in the French Ministry of Culture's International Composition Contest and the 27th International Contest of Symphony Composition of Citta di Trieste, Italy.
Chen has been a modern music consultant at Radio France (1995), president of the Jury for the Ninth International Composition Contest of Besancon (1998), and chief adjudicator of the International Massiaen Music Competition (2000). He is now based in France and is artistic consultant to Cite de la Musique Paris.
(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2005)