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Taiwanese composer Ma Shui-long was born in Keelung on 17 July 1939. He studied composition at Taiwan College of the Arts with Xiao Erhua, then with Oscar Sigmund at Regensburg Music Academy from 1972 until 1975.
His works have been performed in more than twenty countries. Also a painter, he was known for incorporating visual elements into his music, as a pioneer in blending eastern and western musical styles, and as a musical maverick. His best-known works include the Bangdi (Bamboo Flute) Concerto (1984) and The Peacock Flies Southeast (1977).
In 1986 he travelled to the USA on a Fulbright award to perform his music and carry out research at the Lincoln Center in New York, where he became the first Taiwanese composer to have his work performed. The New York Times praised him in 1987 for 'letting his instruments speak with a European voice, but with an Asian mind'.
He taught in the music departments at Tainan University of Technology and Soochow University, and, amongst many other honours and appointments, was a 1999 recipient of the National Award for Arts and became chairman of the music department, administrative director and principal at the Taipei National University of the Arts, retiring in 2002.
Ma Shui-long died on 2 May 2015, aged seventy-five.