UMKC Conservatory Student Knows the Score

Student composition featured in film festivals

Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Kwan Leung Ling
Anticipated graduation: 2021
Academic program: Master of Music Composition
Hometown: Hong Kong, S.A.R.

Kwan Leung Ling, is a composer and performer who is exploring the similarity between contemporary Western music and traditional Asiatic music.

Ling completed his undergraduate work in California, but applied to UMKC to pursue his master’s degree in music composition. He was the first recipient of the James. A. Rothwell Scholarship at the UMKC Conservatory, which he’s received for the past two years.

“Studying at UMKC is a dream for most composers around the world,” Ling says. “We have a world-class composition faculty team.”

Ling says his scholarship has led to unexpected opportunities.

“This scholarship attracted even more attention in the sound design world, and gave me an opportunity to research and apply that knowledge into my current projects,” Ling says. “I am inserting more sound design ideas into my collaborations with artists in different art fields. I believe that this will be the best way of giving back to this honorable scholarship.”

"Studying at UMKC is a dream for most composers around the world. We have a world-class composition faculty team.” - Kwan Leung Ling

Ling came from a traditional music background in Hong Kong. During his first year in the United States, he immersed himself in Western music.

“As a traditional Chinese music instrument performer, I had very little sense of Western music styles,” Ling says. “When I came to the United States, I had two, two-hour commutes. For four hours a day, I immersed myself in Western music. I think that acclimated me to a whole new world of composition.”

Ling says the experience of studying at UMKC has helped him to put his talents to the best use.

“UMKC is such a warm family for their students,” Ling says. “I get inspired every day by talking with professors and classmates. People at UMKC are very respectful of each other's artworks and giving professional feedback. As a composer and performer, I think this is the best way to learn.”

In addition to his solo and duet recordings, Ling has completed two film scores, including the most recent, “24,” an animated film that explores the experience of a man raised in two different cultures. “24” was selected for the Animation Chico Film Festival in California and the Video Art & Experimental Film Festival in New York City last November. The film will screen on March 20 - March 30, 2021 in CINEJOY Virtual Fest.