Some exciting premieres coming up including my string trio, Friction, written for a project with Charlotte Street Foundation; a violin solo piece, Cross-currents, written as a commission from the Missouri Music Teachers Association; and my adaptation of Crosswind (2013) to a violin/viola duet, which I titled Cross-strings. I am also very honored to be representing HK at the ISCM World New Days 2016 in Tongyeong, South Korea. Thank you for the HKCG for such opportunity! I will also be writing a new string quartet for HKCG's SOUND-IMAGination: Hong Kong Landscape project.
Old pieces new pieces
Nice to hear some older pieces perform recently: Caprice for String Quartet (2007/08), ...and see it vanish (2012), Katachi II (2011), Three Episodes (2010) and think about how these works fit in my compositional thoughts today. And, many works are yet to be premiered, how exciting! Audios are updated constantly under the Listen tab, check it out!
some premieres long overdue...
Recently went into a short discussion about program notes of contemporary, abstract acoustic pieces (electroacoustic pieces utilizing real-life sound sources will inevitably evoke a different set of expectations and images, not everyone is a fan of, or is capable of extensive reduced listening as advocated by the like of Pierre Shaeffer). Although I admit that most of my program notes, or even titles, only occurred to me as usable after the fact (double bar per se), and sometimes I have to actively search for them; they are not completely irrelevant in that they could usually quite accurately (well... or vaguely) convey the images I "saw" during my compositional process. Coming up with a paragraph of descriptive ideas could certainly enhance the effect of the overall image I try to convey in my music. That being said, I think titles and program notes are parts of the compositional process--writing them are certainly as painful as writing notes.
October is going to be exciting, events after events, and premieres--I'm also looking forwards to seeing old friends at EABD, as well as EMM, and hoping to meet new ones at Seoul towards the end of October. While maintaining an active performance schedule, I am also composing, so that's good. But, so much to do, too little time to think... just like always. And, I'm still digesting everything from IRCAM this summer.
I am proud to say that I have earned everything by myself, from the start of my music career. School has taught me (beat me to death to teach me) that no one will ever give me an opportunity unless I fight for it. I fought VERY HARD, not because I think I am better than others, but because if I don't fight, I will not survive.
I still remember how miserable I was when I first started my doctoral study at UMKC... I shouldn't have been.
Not that I really believe in myself - actually, I don't believe in myself that much - I never really expected to win anything, and I never thought I deserve any award or stuff; I entered to many competitions nonetheless, not thinking that I might win, but thinking, "this is the only way out."
I have represented UMKC on many occasions, both nationally and internationally. I am, for the first time, proud to say that I deserve this award, the doctoral fellowship from the school. Yes, today I received this good news.
The fact is, if they have had given me a rejection, the world would still go on, and I would have treated it like one of the 200 rejection letters I keep in my email, and forget about it in a minute. Is this sad? am I so desperate? or maybe it's just life.
For the first time in my life, I can pay rent and food for myself. Yup, pathetic graduate student.
I just think it is ironic that I get most performances from pieces that I have spent least time on; not that they don't represent me--I am as proud about them as I am with the other pieces, but it just makes me think if I can really justify myself spending so much time on one piece. Sometimes, I do need to think less and just write with impulse.
It is exciting that I will have three world premieres in three days, on December. One of them is yet to be written!
Art x life
Art is essentially useless because it does not contribute to any material gains in this world. During this time of economic hardship, politicians and other literal-minded people urge to eliminate the emphasis of the arts on all levels of society. Obviously, you cannot eat your paintings, music or poetry, but what the arts contribute to this world is, I believe, on a spiritual level, much more meaningful than anything else.
Many have overlooked the vibrant color that arts can bring to their lives because of the immediate attraction of material gains. Today, young people tend to have a short attention span, thus submitting to this attraction, as a direct result of overwhelming technological bloom.
As a young person myself, I am determined to purify my expressive power in a musical way and seek to communicate with others through my artistic endeavor. I am also fascinated with the idea of constructing a body of arts that represents my “other voice.”
Art is about communication; communication is the basis of society; society is the back-bone support for a modern life--art is essential to our living, believe it or not.
Two weeks ago, I was able to co-compose a piece of music for cello and live electronics (Max 6) in merely hour and a half, and the piece lasts for five minutes (quasi-improvisatory). This makes me wonder, do I over-think most of the time when I compose? I often spend hours just to come up with materials for three to five measures, let alone polish and fit them into the large scheme. Should I think less and just let the music flow, or should I take an entirely new direction regarding my composition process all together?
Here I am again, in the midst of a fall semester--there is usually no time for an afterthought. Regarding my own composition, I saw a dramatic change in my approach, and somehow I became more "productive," or perhaps I should say, I could stretch my composition process for a long period of constant composing time. This "new" method produced pieces including Icebergs, ...and see it vanish, Anemoi and etc. I am very anxious to hear the results. Icebergs will be recorded by eighth blackbird on November 7th!
This semester, I also began as the studio manager of the IMPACT center; my duties include setting up concerts, maintaining the studios and such. Even more demanding is teaching the electronic music class, but I really enjoy every minute of it--getting to share something I love and designing this entire class is more than fun.
Usually, I really want a performance of my music. I understand I will get one performance of a piece and that's it, I'll still write a piece for anyone who asks me to. I care less now--I'll write whatever I want to write, if it doesn't get performed, it doesn't. Life is too short to worry about stuff like this--I enjoy composing, and that's the end of it.
Had so much fun last week at Las Vegas. The recording session in UNLV lasted for about two and a half hours. Mark recorded sections of the pieces in multiple takes before we go back and merge them together. After obtaining a clean raw recording of the saxophone part, then we feed it into Max/MSP for mixing with the "live" electronics. A rough mix version of Katachi IV (2012) can be heard here. I can't wait to hear it live!
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