He studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, then in Germany. He has lectured on music theory, music analysis, film music and ballet music at the Musikhochschule in Munich. Since 1991 he is professor of film and media composition at the newly founded State Film Academy in the Stuttgart area.
Together with Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Byrne, Su won the Best Original Score Academy Award for the Bernardo Bertolucci film The Last Emperor in 1987. He has scored other film soundtracks, mostly for Asian films.