Born on Hainan Island off the southern coast of China in 1976, Huang was taught piano and composition from the age of six by his father, a well-known Chinese composer. When he was 12, he was admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he was instructed in both traditional Chinese and western music by Deng Erbo. In 1995, after winning the Henry Mancini Award at the International Film and Music Festival in Switzerland, he continued his education in the United States at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and at the Juilliard School in New York City where he studied composition with Samuel Adler, receiving a doctorate.
In 2001, Huang was one of the founding members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, an orchestral group of some 30 musicians which often performs works by European, Latin American, and Asian composers. In 2005, he founded the performance company, Future in Reverse (FIRE), specializing in multimedia and cross-genre projects.
In 2010, Huang's composition "The Yellow Earth" won the Celebrate Asia! composition competition. It was performed by the Seattle Symphony at a concert in January 2011. The piece is a rearrangement of the third movement of his sheng concerto "The Color Yellow" which brings together music produced by a Chinese instrument accompanied by a Western orchestra.
Christina Mamakos, who has created an installation combining Huang's music with a video, defines the technique he calls "dimensionalism" as follows: "Using an inventive musical voice which draws equal inspiration from Chinese folk, western avant-garde, rock and jazz, Ruo creates a seamless series of musical works that do not necessarily exist in the sound world of our daily life."
- First prize, International Composition Competition, Luxembourg, 2008 with "MO".
- First prize, Celebrate Asia! composition competition, 2010 with "The Yellow Earth".
- "Being...", for alto saxophone (or clarinet) and viola (1999)
- "Omnipresence", violin concerto (2003)
- "Tree Without Wind", (2004)
- "Leaving Sao", for Chinese folk vocalist and orchestra, (2004)
- "Four Fragments", for amplified violin
- "String Quartet No.1", The Three Tenses, (2005)
- "Wind Blows...", for viola and piano (2007)
- Dr. Sun Yat-sen (中山逸仙), opera, original version premiered 2011, revised version premiered 2014
- An American Soldier, opera, original version premiered 2014, revised version premiered 2018
- Huang Ruo, "Chamber Concertos Nos 1 to 4", International Contemporary Ensemble, and Mandy Corrado, Naxos CD 8.559322 (2007)
- Huang Ruo, "To The Four Corners", Huang Ruo (Composer), Huang Ruo (Conductor), Future In REverse (F.I.R.E.) (Performer), Stephen Buck (Performer), Min Xiao-Fen (Performer), Naxos CD
- Huang Ruo: Drama Theater Nos. 2-4 / String Quartet No. 1, "The 3 Tenses" (Future In REverse, Huang Ruo), Naxos CD 8.559653
- New Music from Bowling Green, Vol. 5, Jane Rodgers' Roger Schupp (Artist), Huang Ruo (Artist, Composer, Performer), Steven Bryant (Composer), Samuel Adler (Composer), Shulamit Ran (Composer), John Ross (Composer), Michael Daugherty (Composer), Emily Freeman Brown (Conductor), Bowling Green Philharmonia (Orchestra), Roger Schupp (Performer), Jane Rodgers (Performer), Albani CD (2008)
- International Composition Prize Luxembourg 2008, World Premiere Recordings, New Works for Solo-Sheng and Orchestra": Huang Ruo, "MO"; Lan-chee Lam, "Threnody for the Earth"; Kee Yong Chong, "Phoenix calling"; Xiaozhong Yang, "Horsetail Whisk II", Lok-yin Tang, "It is What it is!"; Stephen Yip, "Six Paths". Luxembourg Sinfonietta, Soloist: Wu Wei, Conductor: Marcel Wengler. CD LGNM No 408.
- Huang Ruo's website
- Huang Ruo's page at Theodore Presser Company
- Huang Ruo on his life and music - Interview on the 7th Avenue Project Radio Show
- "Huang Ruo", The Living Composers Project, Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- Ilona Oltuski, "Huang Ruo: Multi-Dimensional Composing Between East And West", SeattlePi. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "Activities 2007", Luxembourg Music Information Centre. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "International Contemporary Ensemble". Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- Vivian Miezianko, "Huang Ruo: composer, musician, and … Celebrate Asia! contest winner?", Northwest Asian Weekly, Vol 30, No 2, January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011.