Liu Sola

Composer, Writer, Vocalist

Liu Sola is a composer, a highly individualistic vocalist and also a major contemporary fiction writer. Having graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music with a degree in composition, she composed music for symphony orchestras, ensembles, solo instruments, as well as music for film, television, modern theatre and dance productions. She created the first Chinese rock opera ‘Blue Sky Green Sea’ with a libretto based on her own award-wining novella of the same name.

While on a fellowship in the United States (1987) as a special guest of the United States News Agency, she discovered the Blues. She went to Memphis in 1989 and recorded the first ever Chinese blues song “Reborn” with Memphis blues musicians. From 1988 to 2002, she lived in London and then in New York, collaborating with Blues, Jazz, Rock, Rap, Reggae, and Club musicians as well as traditional and classical musicians, and performed world wide.

Her first US album Blues in the East (US/Polygram, produced by: Bill Laswell) was spotlighted on Billboard and held one of the “top 10” positions on the New World Music Charts for many weeks. She released 6 other albums in the United States, including China Collage (Produced by: John Zone, Bill Laswell) and Haunts (produced by Liu Sola & Fernando Saunders). She has written film soundtracks including the soundtrack for Michael Apted’s ‘Moving the Mountain’; modern theatre, dance pieces and ensemble works.

In 1999, she returned to China, and with her band Liu Sola and Friends they gave ground-breaking performances at the Beijing Jazz Festival. The band has since been enlarged both physically and conceptually, performing the first-ever traditional Chinese “big band” in Beijing in 2002; and in Berlin in 2003, as a fusion ensemble made up of traditional Chinese and American jazz-rock musicians. More recently, (as in a new concert Celebration of light and darkness – 2005), she has devoted her musical attention to fashioning contemporary sounds from traditional Chinese instruments, while continuing to explore new vocal styles.

Liu Sola (Liu Suola)‘s writings have been translated into many languages. She achieved early success with her best – selling novella You Have no Choice, which won the 1988 Chinese national novella award. Her work received not only critical praise but also became cult reading for the young generation and has remained so up to today. Her most important novels are Chaos & All That (1989) written in London, and Small Tales of the Great Ji Family (2000) written in New York. She has written many essays on music and art including the best-selling book Liu Sola on the Move.

An illustrated edition of Nv Zhen Tang (Small Tales of the Great Ji Family) was published in China 2003. This political-mythological novel has published (as: La grande Óle des tortues-cochons) in French from SEUIL, Paris in 2005.

She was an international board member of the House of World Cultures (HKW), curated the music program [Rebel’s concert series] for the In-transit Festival 2005 in Berlin and the music program [You Have no Choice] for [China Cultural Memory Festival]. This particular concert series has become a world tour program for the German based Ensemble Modern.

Liu Sola was the co-writer and one of leading actresses, as well as the composer for the sound track, of Ning Ying’s film Perpetual Motion (2006). She also composed the sound tracks for Lu Yue’s film Thirteen Princess Trees (2006) and Li Shaohong’s film The Door (2006).

The world premiere of Liu Sola’s new opera Fantasy of the Red Queen, commissioned by the House of the World Cultures (HKW) was performed by Ensemble Modern together with Liu Sola & Friends Chinese ensemble in May 2006. Liu Sola wrote the libretto as well as the music score, directed, as well as took the lead vocal role in the opera. The House of World Cultures (HKW) in Germany has commissioned this opera.

Liu Sola currently resides in Beijing.