Sheng's short piece for violin and piano will be performed by each of the semi-finalists in the quadrennial competition, as a test of their ability to interpret an unfamiliar work.
"In one sense, each player will invent the work, and try to communicate the composer's intent in ways that are intellectually meaningful and emotionally satisfying," said violinist Jaime Laredo, the president of the competition's jury. "In addition to challenging our young musicians with a totally new work, we hope to enrich the violin repertory by commissioning a truly outstanding composer to write a work that will be played long after the competition for which it was written."
The Chinese-born Sheng's works include Red Silk Dance, which was premiered by pianist Emanuel Ax and the Boston Symphony in 2002; The Song and Dance of Tears, performed by the New York Philharmonic in 2003; and Colors of Crimson, premiered in October 2004 by the Luxembourg Philharmonic and percussionist Evelyn Glennie.
The IVCI, founded in 1982 by Thomas J. Beczkiewicz and violinist Josef Gingold, has commissioned a new work for each of its previous six competitions. Composers previously commissioned include Leon Kirchner, George Rochberg, Witold Lutoslawski, Ned Rorem, and Richard Danielpour.