Born in Shanghai in 1951 into a family of artists, Qigang Chen became a victim of the cultural revolution and was exiled to a work camp for three years. Only in 1977 was he able to take up his composition studies again; in 1984 he was allowed to move to France, where he became one of Olivier Messiaen’s last students. His frequent choice of French titles for his works is no coincidence: Qigang Chen is a French citizen today and lives alternately in Paris and Beijing. His numerous compositions also combine the influence of traditional Chinese folk music with a Western orchestral idiom – examples include Reflet d’un temps disparu (written for cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998), the orchestra works Iris dévoilée (2001) and Wu Xing (The Five Elements, 1999), the concerto for erhu and orchestra Un temps disparu (2002) and the trumpet concerto Joie éternelle (2013). His soundtracks for movies by Zhang Yimou, e.g. Flowers of War and Coming Home, became widely popular and well-known, as did his ballet The Red Lantern, based on Yimou’s film of the same name. Qigang Chen also composed the music for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.