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.
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.
Heading to Vegas next week for a recording project of Katachi IV (2012) with saxophonist Mark McArthur, I haven't heard any of my newly completed pieces for a while, this should be exciting! Bowling Green trip some time in June? ...then San Francisco! I finally have the perfect excuse to come back to the bay area for a visit!
Concert is cancelled in Hong Kong, two weeks before the performance, almost two months after paying for the air ticket. It is perfectly fine if a concert has to be cancelled due to varies reasons (better be real good reasons), but the fact that the director did not intend to inform me about the cancellation, until I happened to ask him about the concert, on Facebook. Seriously, this is not even a professional vs. amateur issue; this is about responsibility. Should I have signed a contract before I decided to attend the performance? I guess a paper is more trust-able than a person, which is sad. This person calls himself a professional musician and a teacher, which is even more sad---way to corrupt an entire generation of musician. Teachers should really learn about moral issues before they are allowed to teach, especially, young kids.
I never learned about fraud in school---way to spend an international air ticket to learn just that. Worth it?
It feels like I have been composing a lot this semester, but I actually haven't written that much. My bass trombone quartet commission is coming very slowly. I have this urge to finish it ASAP--don't know whether it's a good thing or not. Perhaps I am just anxious about commissions, that I want to see a finished product as quick as possible. I am, however, very satisfied with my recent completed piece Katachi IV for alto saxophone and live electronics. I can see my style slowly changing and evolving. Honestly, I would have never imagined it be like this, say, five years ago. I am excited, and anxious to see what's next.
More travels are ahead of me: Bowling Green, Hong Kong, Iowa... as much as I love traveling, I am broke.
I am liking Kansas City. There seems to be everything here, except for a job... This is looking to be a great academic year. I'll be studying with Chen Yi this semester!
Here comes the end of my summer vacation, again. I'll miss Hong Kong dearly.The longer I stay here, the more I feel that I cannot be seperated from this city - its people, its culture, its spirit, its breath...