My new season 2015-2016 started with drafting a script of a play for a musical theater. When creativity engages with research on the psychic dynamic of the characters, historical context, style of the literature, and thoughts on many other modalities of a production, it feels quite like a more vibrant experience. A human character comes first as the conception of the musical work – it gives me an intimate feeling. It is as if I had lived the life of my character, and been affected by the issues around the character.
With these thoughts in mind, I am very pleased that I am invited to write five new works during this season for individual musicians as well as for ensembles and orchestra. I am especially happy that I am writing for individual musicians again and have had very interesting conversation about the artistic idea, modes of the collaboration, and the production.
Clarinetist Pei-Lun Tsai (蔡佩倫) and I find each other the right persons to collaborate on a new work to incorporate new music and movement executed by a soloist performer. This allows me to brainstorm with visual, and musical ideas on the theme of longing and companion.
The Chinese ensemble Chai Found Music Workshop (采風樂坊) and I have brought up the possibility about producing a musical theater work for traditional ensemble. In this work, we will feature the Pipa virtuoso Hui-Kuan Lin(林慧寬) as Sis Lin, the title character from the play that I have drafted for, adapting from the Taiwanese ghost folktale “Lin Tou Sister” (林投姐). The drama of this work focuses on defying the identity prescribed by the authority in her nightmare, and the resuming her consciousness at the real world that the voice of her instrument — a Chinese instrument — claims itself memory through the path of the colonial and post-colonial culture in Taiwan.
Julia Bentley, the Chicago-based mezzo-soprano, has a great idea about expanding so-called “American Songbook” by having several composers composing based on Carl Sandburg’s poems. I am so honored to be part of this project to collaborate with Julia and the ensemble Access Contemporary Music. The concert is curated by Augusta Read Thomas and Stephen Burns as one of five-day-long concert series “Ear Taxi Music Festival” in 2016 October.
National Symphony Orchestra (aka Taiwan Philharmonic) has included me as one of the twelve composers in their new project of arrangement for orchestra featuring the music of Taiwan aboriginal tribes. This project not only expands the arrangement as a genre in my catalog, but also extends the musical culture/communities that I have been able to incorporate. I feel so honored to be part of it! The arrangement is scheduled to be rehearsed, the recording will be later released. We will keep you updated!
Bassist Hsin-Chieh Tsai (蔡歆婕) and I have been friends for over 25 years. I am so glad to work with her again. Her musical interests are diverse and she always gives me a musical assignment with very clear vision – let’s write Piazzolla this time! So, yes, we are doing it!
We will keep you updated about the performance schedule. If you wish to support any of our projects, please let us know! Write email to Yuan-Chen Li via <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more details.