Migratory Journeys World Premiere Concert
Friday, March 16, 2012. 6:30 PM
Fullerton Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago
Read reviews of the Migratory Journeys World Premiere Concert:
Kuang-Hao Huang – piano, Cynthia Yeh – percussion, Eric Millstein – percussion
COMPOSERS AND PROGRAM NOTES
Sojouner’s Song 旅人之歌
The composition is inspired by the spiritual struggle of the Chinese migrant who resettles in a foreign territory in pursuit of a better living and a better home. Traditionally, the pipa, a solo Chinese plucked-stringed instrument celebrated especially for its virtuosity and delicacy of tone, is chosen to establish contrast with an ensemble of Western instruments. The music opens with a solitary pipa cadenza, followed by a short section in which the pipa passage, with the contrabass providing a drone, is punctuated with short, sharp chords performed on the piano and percussion. This is followed by a full-ensemble section featuring the flute which, in turn, leads to a dialogue between the pipa and the flute, two contrasting instruments demonstrating distinctively different inherent characters and culturally-associated values. Mounting tension culminates in the fast-moving climactic passage. It is marked by the incorporation of the somewhat distorted pentatonic scale- suggestive of attempts to preserve cherished customs and traditions in a culturally alien domain. Throughout the climactic passage, the pipa is allowed to play freely (an authentic feature of Chinese instrumental playing), emerging as a free-floating layer above the strictly-regulated rhythmic patterns produced by the ensemble of Western instruments, with which the former does not necessarily synchronize. As the music draws to a placid close, the pipa cadenza returns, slowly fading out this time, as the sojourner finds rest in his ultimate abode where all strife ceases and all differences are smoothed out.
Daniel Lo 盧定彰
Daniel LO Ting-cheung is currently an MPhil (Music Composition) candidate under the supervision of Chan Hing-yan at the University of Hong Kong where he received his BA (music) degree with first class honors. Lo has received formal instruction for piano and percussion since childhood and is now a passionate jazz piano player. Lo has been the recipient of various awards and scholarships and was a winner of the New Generation 2010 organized by the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild. In the summer of 2010, he was invited to the first annual International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition at Prague on the merit of his latest work for piano, drumset and gamelan gong kebyar, entitled《Galactic Gala》, capturing the third prize and a special prize for the best chamber music. His recent composition for narrator and chamber orchestra, Laura, was awarded the first prize in the MEA Competition Contest in Rome, Italy. Lo takes an interest in a wide spectrum of music, ranging from Renaissance music to modern jazz, from the works of Gesualdo to those of Chick Corea. His works have been performed by world-renowned ensembles and performers including Bang on a Can, Orchestra of Our Time, Piccolo Orchestra (Italy), Hong Kong Kamerata, Honk Kong New Music Ensemble, and violinist Yao Jue.
Folk Song, Primitive Dance, Keeping Time 鋼琴獨奏三步曲
Three pieces were commissioned in 2011 for the New Jersey MusicTeachers Association. The pieces are meant for students to learn: Folk Song is marked Easy, Primitive Dance intermediate, and Keeping Time advanced. However, I believe they work well as a concert set and have hint of Asian elements and tunes in common. Even though I composed the melody, Folk Song sounds like a familiar Chinese tune. It is recomposed in a more contemporary way so that the melody is doubled by both hands at the extreme ends of the piano keyboard. Primitive Dance evokes a rugged atmosphere and is a short rhythmic study in syncopated patterns and ostinato figures. In KeepingTime, a constant pulse chimes against intricate passagework having ever-changing rhythmic patterns- at times syncopated- across the entire range of the keyboard. The title alludes to the kajar, an instrument in the Balinese gamelan that keeps the steady beat.
Vivian Fung 馮偉君
Vivian Fung has distinguished herself as a composer with a unique and powerful compositional voice. Since earning her doctorate from The Juilliard School in 2002, Fung has forged her own approach, often merging Western forms with non-Western influences such as Balinese and Javanese gamelan and folk songs from the minority regions of China. The New York Times has described her work as “evocative,” and Chicago Tribune deems one of her most recent works, Yunnan Folk Songs, as conveying “a winning rawness that went beyond exoticism.” The premiere by Fulcrum Point New Music Project was chosen by Chicago Fung’s upcoming projects include her String Sinfonietta, to be given its Canadian premiere in 2012 by the Montreal Chamber Orchestra; new works for the Delaware Chamber Music Festival and Gamelan Yowana Sari; and performances by Astral Artists, CUBE Ensemble, and pianist Mary Ernest. An all-Fung CD, including her Violin and Piano Concerti and Glimpses for prepared piano recorded by Metropolis Ensemble, will be released in 2012 by Naxos Canada. Fung has been composer-in-residence of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival, the Music in the Loft chamber music series in Chicago, the San José Chamber Orchestra, and the Billings Symphony. She has also completed residencies at the MacDowell, Yaddo, and Banff arts colonies, as well as two residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Fung was the 2010 New York Foundation for the Arts’ Gregory Millard fellow. She has received numerous awards and grants from ASCAP, BMI, American Music Center, American Composers’ Forum, The MAP Fund, and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Limpid Eyes Image 秋水意象
Autumn glow and open water, together form a brilliant picture. Vibrant colorful leaves, layers of mountains and graceful rivers. With a tarnished past on my mind, sorrow fills me with emptiness, my Hsiao [flute] is silent.
A solitary wild crane flies alongside the multi-colored sunset clouds, and the autumn water is merged with the boundless sky into one hue.
Hao Liu 劉灝
Hao Liu is a doctoral candidate at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and a lecturer in the Department of Music Engineering. Major works include: Orchestral Suite Building Rural Impressions (2005); Wu Chan or Understanding Zen, an ensemble for nine players (2006); the symphonic tone poem Limpid Eyes Image (which premiered at the Migratory Journeys World Premiere Concert; Silk, a capriccio for solo flute, which premiered in November 2008 at Shanghai’s prestigious He Luting Concert Hall; Cursive, a woodwind quintet (2007); Jade Parasol Tree and Golden Well for flute and harp (2007); and Roaring – Drige for the Victims of the Weichuan Earthquake for 9 players, which was a finalist in the 2010 31st Irino Prize for Chamber Orchestra International Composition Competition in Japan. His Spot, was a winner of the Chinese Third Contempo Chamber Music Composition Competition award and premiered at the Central Conservatory in Beijing. Liu has written popular music including Electronic Folk Songs in 2007, I Can, You Can for the 2008 Shanghai Special Olympics, and others.
Yearning is about the perennial theme of homesickness—the strong, nostalgic feeling that drifting souls of all times share on their migratory journeys. In Chinese culture, this theme is often associated with the image of the moon, as written by so many poets who have found themselves lonely guests in an unfamiliar land. To these literary talents, writing about the moon is not only a means to alleviate the distress of alienation but also a consolation. The comforting thought that is that no matter how far away from home, one is still able to be connected to friends and family when raising a wine-cup towards the moon on a beautiful night. The Chinese title of this work is 婵娟 (pronounced as chan juan), a word that is often used to substitute for the moon in Chinese classical poetry and verse. The two titles together suggest the basic mood and emotion of the piece. The conversations between the pentatonic and the chromatic motifs, between the silence and the activities, and between the two instruments’ contrasting timbres and melodies are all symbolically articulating the intense, conflictive homesick feelings of migration, which often affect one both physically and spiritually. The piece is dedicated to double bass player Han-Jui Chen and his wife, zheng player Yu-Chen Wang.
Chen Yao 姚晨
The music of Yao Chen strikes audiences with its innovative ways of bringing the traditions of Chinese and Western music together. Cross-cultural concepts permeate his creativity, presenting his understanding of the value of new music in global contemporary culture. These aesthetic pursuits have been realized within his works, such as Two Poems for orchestra, Jun for pipa and double bass, and Paramita. Recently, Yao’s music has received significant recognition and has been performed by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Pacifica String Quartet, eighth blackbird, and the Beijing New Music Ensemble. His music has been presented at music festivals throughout the world, including the Radio France Festival Présences, Tanglewood Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Centre Acanthes, and Pacific Music Festival. He has received commissions and awards from ASCAP, Radio France, the Barnett Foundation, the Leonard Bernstein Fund, the Art Institute’s Silk Road Chicago Project, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the International Liu Tianhua Composition Competition, the Greece International Composition Competition, and the Beijing Modern Music Festival among many others. For more information, visit www.yaochenmusic.com.
Moon Lullaby 月亮搖籃曲
Moon Lullaby uses the melody of a Cantonese lullaby, 月光光. My mother sang this song to me as a very small child during my time in Hong Kong, and it is one of my first musical memories. To me, the most poignant and beautiful aspect of diaspora is not an attempt to return to the homeland or even to recreate it in a new place. It is the very state of being distanced that is most artistically interesting. Having grown up in Hawaii after spending my early childhood in Hong Kong, I consistently rely on memories of my Chinese heritage as I try to define my own identity. This concept of memory is very important in my music. So rather than stating the melody explicitly, I chose to depict my memory of it, which has been distorted through time. The structure of the piece features two alternating sections: first, the lilting quality (embodied in the vibraphone ostinato figure); second, the charming melody (sung by the oboe). The sung quality of the melody is further highlighted by upward pitch bends in the oboe towards the end of the piece. At the times when the tune itself has been kept relatively intact, I harmonized it with my own personal sound world. Thus, the vibraphone and the strings seem to serve as the “shadow” of the lullaby, one that has gone through as much of a journey as I have from my native Chinese homeland.
Tonia Ko 高子詠
Born in Hong Kong in 1988 and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Tonia Ko’s music reflects and embraces her multi-cultural upbringing. Her compositions have been performed by ensembles including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, Eastman Philharmonia, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Luna Nova New Music Ensemble, New York Treble Singers, Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, and the Vancouver Miniaturist Society. She has participated in festivals such as the Wellesley Composers Conference, American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, Brevard Music Center, and UNL Chamber Music Institute. A three-time winner of the Louis Lane Prize and twice a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould competition, she has also received recognition from the International Alliance for Women in Music, Austin Peay State University, and the Belvedere Chamber Music Festival.
Tonia is currently a Master’s student at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where she also serves as an associate instructor of music theory. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Eastman School of Music, graduating with highest distinction. Her teachers include Claude Baker, Aaron Travers, Robert Morris, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. A devoted pianist, Tonia has studied with Vincent Lenti and Shigeo Neriki. As a singer, she has been a member of the IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Eastman Chorale and, Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus.
Tibetan Tunes 西藏之調
Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, my two-movement trio Tibetan Tunes is written for the New Pacific Trio and premiered at the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific in 2007. The first movement is inspired by a Tibetan folk tune Du Mu played on a recorder (xiongling). The music presents the rich gestures of Du Mu (a name of a god in Tibetan Buddhism) in a serene mood. “Dui Xie” is a kind of Tibetan folk ensemble music with a same tune in the introduction and the coda, played with the plucking instrument zhamunie, the bamboo flute and the fiddle erhu, often performed with singing and tap dancing. The pitch materials of the second movement Dui Xie are drawn from the folk ensemble music and a lyrical Tibetan folk song Amaliehuo.
Chen Yi 姚晨
Ms. Chen began violin and piano studies at age three, but the Cultural Revolution interrupted her musical progress in 1966. She later studied composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing from 1978-86 where she earned her MA, the first Chinese woman to receive this degree in music. She then studied composition at Columbia University from 1986-93, earning her DMA with distinction. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Lawrence University in 2002.
Among her many honors in China are the Eddie Medora King Composition Prize from the University of Texas (1999), the Adventurous Programming Award from ASCAP for Music From China (1999), and the Charles Ives Living Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2001-2004). Her most recent honors include the ASCAP Concert Music Award (2001) and the Elise Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2002)
Numerous ensembles and orchestras in China, Germany, Singapore, and the US have commissioned her, and she has received many grants. Her chamber music was featured in Sound and Silence, a series of ten films on contemporary music co-produced by ISCM (1989), and she was profiled in the documentary film Chen Yi in America (A Cantonese in New York, 2002). She taught at Peabody Conservatory from 1996-98 and has been teaching music composition at the University of Missouri at Kansas City since 1998. She was the Karel Husa Visiting Professor at Ithaca College in 2002-2003 and has guest-lectured throughout China and the United States.
Emanuele Andrizzi, conductor
Emanuele Andrizzi is a conductor, a pianist, and a composer with a strong connection to the rich musical tradition of Rome’s Conservatory, from which he graduated with an artist diploma in opera and orchestral conducting and a ten-year diploma in composition. After a selection among several candidates, Andrizzi was chosen as one of the two graduate students invited to the Opera Theatre of Rome, where he worked intensively on the Italian opera repertoire during a three-year internship for opera conductors and vocal coaches. Afterwards, he worked in Europeand in the US as a conductor and pianist.
A graduate of Santa Cecilia Conservatory, Alfredo Casella Conservatory, and Bard College, Andrizzi is currently a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University, where he studied under the guidance of Maestro Victor Yampolsky. In 2009, Andrizzi collaborated with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra preparing the Apollo Chorus for the opera performance at Ravinia Festival and afterwards he had his debut as music director/conductor for No Exit by Andy Vores at the Chicago Opera Vanguard.
Lately, he has worked as opera conductor-in-residence at the Bay View Music Festival and as guest conductor with the South Shore Opera of Chicago and the American Chamber Opera Company. Andrizzi’s symphonic and operatic repertoire stretches from classical to contemporary music, with a special interest for music written after the 1950s.
Daniel Armstrong, double bass
Daniel Armstrong joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in June 1995, following twelve seasons as assistant principal bass in the Milwaukee Symphony. His musical studies began at an early age in northern British Columbia and continued to a degree from the Juilliard School.
As a frequent performer on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series, a member of the Jason Seed Stringtet, a founding member of Milwaukee’s Present Music ensemble, a performer of new Canadian music on CBC Winnipeg, and solo performances with the Milwaukee Symphony of a work of his own, Dan has demonstrated great interest in playing new music.
Hong-Da Chin, dizi
A native of Malaysia, Hong-Da Chin plays the Chinese bamboo and western flutes. Chin has toured Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan with the Malaysian National Symphony Orchestra and Professional Cultural Center Orchestra (专艺民族乐团). Major solo performances include Whisper on the Wind, a recital inaugurating the Society of Malaysian Contemporary Music in 2010, and Love Within the Flute, a Chinese bamboo and western flute recital in Malaysia in 2007. Also a composer, Chin is currently a Bomhard Fellow at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, studying composition with Steve Rouse and flute with Kathy Karr.
YuQi Deng, zheng
YuQi Deng 亓瑀, a virtuosic guzheng performer, graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music (中央音乐学院) in Beijing, China and has performed widely in China and other countries. She was the solo guzheng performer in the Chinese National Traditional Music Concert in celebration of the reunification of Hong Kong to China and was one of the winners of the National Guzheng Competition sponsored by the China Culture Bureau. She holds recitals, and frequently records guzheng music for record companies, CCTV, and a large number of TV series and programs.
In 2007, YuQi received her master degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington in Seattle. While there, she worked as guzheng instructor for the department and gave concerts, lectures, and workshops at universities throughout the country.
Kozue Funakoshi, violin
Kozue Funakoshi joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2000 after three years as violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra. A former concertmaster for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Kozue studied with Hideyuki Nimura, Joseph Genualdi, and Sando Shia.
Kozue Funakoshi has played on the Cleveland Orchestra’s chamber music series and at the Kurashiki Music Festival directed by Takashi Asahina and she performed as soloist during the Thüringer Philharmonic Orchestra’s 1993 concert tour in Germany. She also served as concertmaster for the Tokyo College of Music Symphony’s 1993 U.S. concert tour, which took her to Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center.
In 2008, Kozue Funakoshi performed with the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra under Myung-Whun Chung. She frequently appears with the Chicago Chamber Musicians.
Kuang-Hao Huang, piano
Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang is most often heard as a collaborator, performing recitals and radio broadcasts with Chicago’s finest musicians, from instrumentalists of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to singers with the Lyric Opera. An advocate of new music, Huang is a member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project and has given numerous premieres, including solo works by Louis Andriessen and Chen Yi at Weill Hall as part of Carnegie Hall’s Millennium Piano Book Project.. Huang serves on the faculties of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and Concordia University-Chicago. Huang can be heard in recordings on the Cedille and Naxos labels. For more information, visit www.khpiano.net.
Scott Hostetler, oboe
Scott Hostetler joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra oboe section in 2002. In 2008 he was appointed to the English horn position by Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink. Prior to joining the CSO he was principal oboist and an Artist-in-Residence of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and second oboist with the Erie Philharmonic. He also frequently performs with the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and at Northwestern University’s Winter Chamber Music Festival.
A native of Kokomo, Indiana, he received his bachelor of music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a student of John Mack. He subsequently studied with Elaine Douvas at the Juilliard School in New York and at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.
An active teacher as well as performer, he has coached the Chicago Civic Orchestra oboe section since 2006. He is currently on the faculty at Northwestern University and has taught at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
Eric Millstein, percussion
Eric Millstein is a section percussionist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and principal percussionist of the Grant Park Orchestra. He plays regularly as an extra musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with Music of the Baroque, the Rembrandt Chamber Players, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, and other Chicago-area ensembles. Eric is on faculty at the DePaul University School of Music and has been a percussion coach for the New World Symphony, Midwest Young Artists, and Chicago’s Classical Symphony.
Eugenia Moliner, flute
Eugenia Moliner has been describe by the British Flute society as “an excellent, exciting and imaginative flute player, totally in control of the sometimes ferocious technical demands of the scores.” Moliner performs recitals as well as appears as a soloist with orchestras in music halls and festivals across Europe, Asia, North and Central America such as Ravinia, Da Camera Society, Mainly Mozart, NFA, Harris theater, National Performing Arts in Beijing, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and Calcutta International Festival. She is a recording artist for Cedille and Bridge Records. Moliner is an Artist-Faculty at Roosevelt University where she teaches Flute and Chamber music.
Ken Olsen, cello
Kenneth Olsen joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as assistant principle cello in 2005. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and a winner of the school’s prestigious concerto competition. His other awards include first prize in the Nakamichi Cello Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and second prize at the 2002 Holland-America Music Society Competition. His teachers have included Richard Aaron at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Joel Krosnick at New York’s Juilliard School of Music, and Luis Garcia-Renart at Bard College. He has also been a participant at the Steans Institute for Young Artists, the Ravinia Festival’s professional-studies program for young musicians, and at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute.
A native of New York, Kenneth Olsen is a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), a conductorless string orchestra comprised of young musicians from orchestras and ensembles all over the country.
Yang Wei, pipa
At age 18, Yang Wei performed as a soloist with the National Shanghai Orchestra. In 1989, he won first prize at the International Chinese Musical Instruments Competition. Yang Wei moved permanently to the United States in 1996, making his home in the Chicago area. Since 2000, Yang Wei has toured with the acclaimed Silk Road Project, performing alongside world famous cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. In the United States, he has performed at such known venues as the Ravinia International Music Festival, the Kimmel Center, Lincoln Center, and the Chicago Symphony Center. He has also served as Artist-in-Residence for the Art Institute of Chicago. Additional accomplishments include a Fellowship in Ethnic and Folk Arts by the Illinois Arts Council in 2006 and a residency at the Humanity Institute of the University of Michigan in 2006 and 2007.
Cynthia Yeh, percussion
Cynthia Yeh joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as principal percussionist in June 2007. She previously served as principal percussionist for the San Diego Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2007.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Yeh received a bachelor of music performance degree from the University of British Columbia and a master of music performance degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, where she studied with Alan Abel. Yeh has been featured as a soloist on Chicago’s WFMT program Live from Levin Studio. She performs regularly with the CSO’s MusicNOW ensemble as well as various chamber ensembles throughout Chicago. Cynthia has given master classes and clinics all over the United States, including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, New World Symphony, Indiana University, Peabody Conservatory, and New York University.
Yuan-Qing Yu, violin and viola
Yuan-Qing Yu joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1995. A year later, Daniel Barenboim appointed her assistant concertmaster. An international award-winning violinist, Yuan-Qing Yu leads an active life in music as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and advocate of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
A native of Shanghai, Yu won the Chinese Nationwide Violin Competition at age 17. The following year, she captured second prize at the world-renowned Menuhin International Violin Competition in England. Yuan-Qing also took the third grand prize in the Jacques Thibaud International Competition in Paris, and a special prize for her outstanding performance of the contemporary work written especially for the competition.
Yuan-Qing Yu has great enthusiasm for contemporary music. She gave the Chicago premier of Pierre Boulez’s Anthèmes 2 for violin solo. Boulez and Barneboim invited Yuan-Qing to perform this work in Berlin as part of the grand celebration concert for Maestro Boulez’s 80th birthday. Yuan-Qing Yu is an active chamber musician and is a founding member of Civitas Ensemble, a not-for-profit chamber music group comprised of members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She also serves on the faculty at Roosevelt University and Valparaiso University in Indiana.
For her upcoming concerts, visit http://www.yuanqingyu.com.
The Migratory Journeys Concert Series was sponsored in part by: