NMB Series

NewMusicBox published a series of articles last month which speak some to my experiences as a composer in China.

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The first article discusses my collaborations with pipa player Xia Yuyan 夏雨言 (For Summer Rain). The second details the new music initiatives of the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra 中国竹笛乐团 (An Introduction to the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra). Article 3 is about a weekend spent with poet Zheng Xiaoqiong 郑小琼 (Poetry and Community in Guangzhou). The final article discusses The Importance of Exchange and several Beijing composers who are active in creating it.

At Banff

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I have been at Banff for the past week and a half collaborating with the Butter Quartet from The Hague —

They premiered a new quartet I wrote for them, Mycelia whisper lines, last night. It has been such a wonderful experience to work with the Butters and their historical instruments.

 

Sheng / yangqin / toy piano

I recorded the impression remains late last week with Li Yi Fan (sheng 笙), Zhu Jiang Yang (yangqin 扬琴), and Alexander Colding Smith (conductor 指挥):

It was great to collaborate with everyone and for the piece — which we have been discussing since 2015 — to come full circle. Yi Fan and I had met in an elevator at China Conservatory one evening. She lamented that none of the composers she knew would write sheng pieces and asked if I were interested on the spot. We met for several demonstrations and kept in touch, but she left the exact instrumentation of the work up to me. (Perhaps I would have reconsidered my chosen instrumentation had I envisioned myself carting a toy piano around Beijing taxis for a year…).