Sheng's term starts immediately and runs through 2007.
As part of the residency, Sheng will compose two new works to accompany world premieres at NYCB in 2007 and '08. He will also conduct the company's orchestra, take part in educational activities, and participate in the New York Choreographic Institute, NYCB's training program for choreographers and composers.
Sheng's existing works will be used for a new work by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux that is scheduled to premiere at NYCB this year as part of the Diamond Project Festival.
Sheng is the first composer to join NYCB as part of its six-year-old artist-in-residence program, which has previously included extended residencies for costume designers, conductors, and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.
"New music and the commissioning of scores is traditionally a vital element in the life of NYCB," said NYCB music director Andrea Quinn. "We are very proud and honored, therefore, to have the world-renowned composer Bright Sheng join the music staff as composer in residence. Bright's music is characterized by extraordinary beauty and textural exoticism as well as rhythmic drive, and we are truly looking forward to having such an experienced and exciting composer as part of our team."
The Chinese-born Sheng studied with Leonard Bernstein, George Perle, and other composers. His 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; Colors of Crimson, premiered in October 2004 by the Luxembourg Philharmonic and percussionist Evelyn Glennie; and the opera Madame Mao, which debuted in Santa Fe Opera in 2003. He is an artistic advisor to Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project.