Sunday, April 24, 2016

About my final project

In the final project, I want to discuss several method I want to use to attract audience to embrace classical musicI would like to expound my ideal in following two steps:

1) In the first part, I will describe the embarrassing status of classical music in modern times. Our course named “the future of classical music”. That means classical music is facing terrible condition in our times. I will discuss what reason lead this condition. We can deal with this condition after we know the reason leading this condition.

2) In the second part, I will design two entry point learn from teaching artist program to help potential audiences to study musical knowledge. The first entry point I will focus on the mobile phone application program which is useful for adult who have spare time on public transport. The second entry point I will discuss the possibility of future plan. I mean we should provide basic music knowledge education when audiences are little boy/girl. I will discuss the research result from MIT group, whose result reveal the mechanism how our brain response to the music melody. This result is import for us to teach little boy/girl to study music knowledge effectively.

An influential conversation

Last Thursday I went to Harvard University for a activities "A conversation with Placido Domingo".

This is the first time I saw a famous tenor who is the best one of the three tenors of the world. He looks younger than his actual age. He is very gentleman, also very humor. He chatted a lot of his views of the vocal music and his experience in the conversation.

Some stories of his life his was chatted. They talked about his Opera and his opinions about music. One of the host asked him, some people say that music can change the world, what do you think? He said, I don't think so, if music can change the world, everyone just go to singing! The audience laughed loudly.
I think this is a good question for us. Does Music can change the world?

I think, although music can not change the world directly, but can change the mind of people. Music can make people's soul purification. Beautiful music can make people full of love, make people feel more happiness and positively. As we all know, people can change the world. If music can change people, why not music can does? In other words, music can influence the world indirectly.

It's difficult to imagine a world without Music. People no longer to sing and play  musical instrument, no longer creative music. Even no more melody in this world. We can not express our emotion through the music anymore. How boring the world will be?

Music can not only improve a person's heart gradually but also can arouse people's emotion. Good music can also be a good change for us. Music is one of the most amazing thing in this world. We should spread more beautiful music and love.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Music behind a mathematical constant

March 14 — 3/14, a date celebrated the world over as "Pi Day," after the irrational number. This year, to celebrate, musician Michael John Blake had the idea to compose, record and put on YouTube a musical interpretation of the most famous mathematical constant. He decided the song would be in C, then assigned each note a number: C=1, D=2 and so on up through 9. Using those assignments, he played the sequence of pi: 3.14159 through 31 decimal places. He assigned numbers to chords, too, but could only play the chords every other note and still make it sound vaguely musical. Finally, he used pi as the basis for the tempo — it's 157 beats per minute, which is half of 314. He played this part on several instruments, and layered them to make a song. The result isn't exactly catchy, but it's certainly melodic."It's random enough to where it's kind of odd, but then, because it's all based in the major scale, it musically works out to where it's sort of pleasing to the ear," Blake says. "For me, it has this great combination of pleasant but also slightly weird — kind of haunting."

I don’t know whether this melody can be assigned to classical music. But I think this is an interesting way to compose new music and an effective way to teach math. It is a good news for musicians and math teachers. Pi is the most recognized mathematical constant in the world. Scholars often consider Pi the most important and intriguing number in all of mathematics. The video posted by Michael on Yutube is very hot recently. This event tell us that music and math is linked in some way. We can express math using sounds. As a musician candidate, I think this is a wonderfully educational tool that is easily explained to young students of both math and music. PI, I'm sure, could also be incorporated into the rhythm pattern as well as inventing a completely new musical form to create a cohesive PI related musical and mathematical work. However, this is very aesthetically pleasing to the ear, and wonderfully visual at the same time. There is so many interesting mathematical constant in math, in future, you can compose a wonderful melody using anther constant.

At the end of this text, I give link about this popular music, if the reader is interested in the melody, you can listen online. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

News from the Front

One of my friend is an organizer of an art organization that helping the children who have autism in China. This organization has been started since 2011, and everyone in this group is either the current students or the graduated students of Central Conservatory of Music. They are from different majors, share the different experiences and background of music. One thing, however, they have agreed and aimed for is to communicate and interact with the autism children by used music. 

I did not noticed this art organization when they were actually gave few concerts already at different places until someday my friend came to me and asked me if I could write a piece, which easily to engaged with children and those people who does not have the professional music background, which means instead of dissonant sounds, I need to write something purely melodic. I am stumped when I got start to work on it. Because all the time I have been working on the music that either for academic purpose or something related to academically, but ultimately, I finished the piece and went to the concert few weeks later. I have to say that I was influenced by this concert more than I expected. 

In most cases people go to concerts and touched by music works or the performers, but in this time, I was deeply touched by the audiences who attended to this concert. These audiences, these children and their parents, they might do not even know who is Mozart or who wrote the fifth symphony. They was so engaged with the music, which just wrote by the college students, like me. I mean I could not did the better job than Beethoven, but those children’s faces told me that they liked the every single notes of these pieces. As a composer, of course I wish the audiences could like my music, but I also knew that I just could not matched all types of tastes. That is why I was pretty depressed for a long time just because I could not figured out what is the meaning for me to compose a piece. I mean at school, I got teachers and many due days to pushed me move forward, but what about after I graduate. I need to find a powerful point that could continue support me to stick with my music career. 

This art organization that my friend launched is connected by the people who like music and they want to help people with music, no matter whether they have the professional background. Sometimes when we are working on one thing for a really long time, we start to forgot the reason why we start it at the first time and where would this thing bring us to. The classical music might started since Bach or even earlier, and now we are in some kind of “Contemporary classical music” period, and who knows what is the next period of music will come? In fact, I do not think music could just simply be divided by style or time period, do not even mention dissonant and consonant. Music is a diversification substance, which needed by diversity of audiences. I wrote music because I think music is a state of lifestyle, the one could influence people’s life in many ways. So this concert actually gave me a reason to keep my music going, also rebuilt up my hopes to music or more specifically, to my own music career. I think the future of classical music would be flourish in more diversity ways than present, and as a musician, I will not stopping to learn from it. 

Cantata Profana: Minding the Gap

Cantata Profrana is a New York/New Haven based ensemble founded in 2012 by by violinist Jacob Ashworth and bass-baritone John Taylor Ward during their studies at Yale. The ensemble seeks to present thoughtful reimaginations of a variety of repertoire for new audiences. Equally at home in early music, standard classical repertoire, and newly composed works, it is not uncommon to see a Cantata Profana concert programming Caccini and Monteverdi alongside alongside works by such composers as Webern. With a dramatically gifted ensemble of singers and instrumentalists, the Cantata Profana’s productions are always colorful and engaging.

I find this ensemble to be groundbreaking in several ways. The most obvious to me is their commitment to programming old and new music, rather than specializing as an early music group or a new music group, something that I feel is pretty standard in the US. What is particularly interesting about their broad repertoire isn’t just that Cantata Profana performs both early and new music, but that they will often combine works from these arenas in the same concert. For example, a recent project by Cantata Profana paired Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor with Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. While these two operas hold much in similar (both tell the stories of two tragic women scorned by love and ending their own lives), one would not expect to see a 19th century bel canto masterpiece and a 17th century English opera performed back to back. Another great example of their innovative programming ideas involves a recital of Purcell, Ives, Sondheim, and Taylor Swift. This is even more outside the box than pairing Lucia and Dido, which at least come out of the same tradition of western art music. This song recital crosses genre lines that we consider to be irreconcilable much of the time.

All of this important to the future of classical music because it makes classical music accessible to audiences in a very real way. Presenting Lucia and Dido in the same program brings opera goers interested in two different areas of music together, and introduces them to a wider variety of style and genre within the arena of opera. Cantata Profrana’s song recital combining Purcell, Ives, Sondheim, and Taylor swift allows new audiences to see that classical music does not have to be an inaccessible, hoity-toity artform that turns its nose up to musical theater and pop music. And it tells classical music lovers that it’s ok to listen to enjoy the music of Purcell as well as the music of Taylor Swift. Cantata Profana breaks down the walls that divide pop music and classical music culture, and creates an environment where music (not classical music and pop music, but music) is for everyone. Even a recent concert of Handel arias turned into a drag show demonstrates that all music can be festive and fun. Cantata Profana actively shows that classical music need not be limited to a formal concert hall and pop music limited to lowbrow venues.!archives/c1y85

Composing Advocacy: Social Voices

This article highlighted the idea that composers can and should "tell historical and social narratives" with their music. The author touches on the ongoing war with terrorism, and the opera The Canticle of the Black Madonna which Ethan Ganse Morse wrote about a soldier struggling with PTSD. It goes on to talk about Joan Szymko's work Shadow and Light, a choral work telling the stories of Alzheimer's patients. The article goes on to discuss different outreach programs that are happening with ensembles in America today and the power that music has to "heal." I think this article made a lot of important points, music traditionally has a way of connecting people from all walks of life and if more pieces started to focus on specific stories and events I think that music would stand out in history and help tell our communal stories to our future listeners.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The collaborative piano music festival

  Nowadays people pay more attention on collaborative piano, not only piano solo.
I think collaborative piano it's really important. Because they need to play with other people. Since like very easy but there has a lot of things need to learn. And there has a lot of music right festival or compition around the word. But I don't think there has too many only for collaborative piano one. In past year, there has a collaborative piano music festival in Beijing. The very first collaborative piano festival. This it's really good news. People let collaborative piano become famous.

  During the festival there has competition and master class. In the past time some time the concert they can free to go but in this festival they need ticket. and the student who attend and sign up for this festival they can play with strings, clarinet etc. This is really good things for Chinese student because in nowadays in Conservtory there has not very clear one. Some people they call accpomny but thought this music festival they made people know this it's not "accompany", they have a name is collaborative piano.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Music and architecture

 This weekend I went to Toronto and visit The Royal Conservtory. This is my first time come to here.

Here is the link for background: click here:background-and-history

  The amazing thing for me it's when I walk around in the old building I found there has a new

building around the old one. It's really cool for me. And the school is located in downtown and the

main color line in the new building is white and they use a lot of glass.

  I like the cool design because it can let people know what are the school want to let people feeling.

Music can let people have different same as architecture. I think music and architecture after they

combined it can have different senses.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Women in the Arts

I remember that I once went to an event at MFA called "Women in the Arts", this event was for "recognize women's history month and celebrate women in the arts". I did some researches of female artists after I went back to home. Since the late 1960s, when the feminist art movement can be said to have emerged, women have been particularly interested in what makes them different from males.

What makes women artists and their art different from male artists and their art? For me, there are always have differences and controversy in the world of art, but there is nothing to do with gender. To influence a piece of art work, gender is obviously not the only reason to distinguish male to female. The personality, the experiences of life, even the families, these elements are significant to one's art works.

"Female Artists Are (Finally) Getting Their Turn" is an article that posted on the website of the New York Times, in which talking about the female artists struggling to participate in the male-dominated art world, and now, they are finally got people's attentions. There are a numerous of great female artists around the world, they and their works should not be buried.

See article, click here

Wikipedia project

An old teacher of mine, Ah Young Hong, has performed prolifically on the East Coast. She has performed with such groups as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Tempeste di Mare, Harmonious Blacksmith, Opera Vivente, and the Bay Atlantic Symphony. Her repertoire ranges from Monteverdi, to Mozart, to Poulenc. Recently she is in high demand as a soloist after premiering “On the Threshold of Winter”, a monodrama by composer Michael Hersch. She has since performed other works by the same composer, and has received critical acclaim from The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, IONARTS, The Washington Post, and IONARTS. Upcoming performances in new music will include Babbitt’s “Philomel” with Lex54 Concerts in New York City, and the premier of Michael Hersch’s “A Tower in Air” as part of the Christopher Middleton Memorial Concert in London, UK.

I decided to write my wikipedia article on Ah because I think it’s important to highlight and publicize musicians who are currently performing and championing new works. Many of the current singers and instrumentalists we see publicized are performers of traditional classical music and opera, and we tend to side step musicians’ accomplishments in new music. As stated above (supported by several sources), Ah is now in high demand as a direct result of her work with Michael Hersch. I feel that it is important for her, and other musicians like her, to have representation in media and academia.

For this project I will be referring to:

Ah Young Hong as a direct source

Ah Young Hong’s personal website (

And the Lex54 concert series website (!catalog/c24vq)

Other sources will also be consulted

Monday, March 28, 2016

Composing is a lonely craft, But we can't do it alone

So, this article wasn't quite what I expected. The author, who is a composer, sort of went on and on thanking people-literally, he thanked pretty much everyone who played a part in getting him to where he is today, but he made an important point about connections to people and the role that they play in composing. This aspect of the article sort of reminded me about the Milton Babbitt article we read, and how he thought composers should only write for themselves. The author of this piece at one point says how surprised he is every time he hears a composer say they do not factor in the audience when writing. He expresses that music is the best way of communicating, and it gives an important insight about someone that couldn't otherwise be expressed. He continues to discuss how much one could learn during a concert, especially of new music, and how it brings the community together. We talked about the tradition of music and communication in class a few weeks ago, and I fully agree that it can be one of the best ways of bringing people together. I understand the importance of making music authentic to that composer, and that they should only be writing what they feel and want to write, but I think then sharing that music with others is a way to keep the communication tradition alive.

Reading via Longy Orchestra

Reading via Longy orchestra

 Last week I went to Pickman hall with my friend Shijia Zhan whom is current longy and she is a composer.
  They have four pieces and doing reading with orchestra. This is my first time come and see the reading. It's really new for me. There has four piece all composed by our current student. And I ask them what means reading? "It's like play the piece and see where need to change and where need exchange the idea and see if there are available to play. Also composer can here their piece via orchestra and check it "
  For me this is a really hard and has a lot of challenges. I just a listener sitting there and I can feel very nervous even i am not a composer .I don't need to answer any questions. And you need to know a lot of detail and skill for each instrument. And make it all possible.
  The other thing I think languages is really important. Not just the speaking skill. Like which word you pick up it's really important. You need to let people know which way you need to go. So this is really engage me.
  Composer it's really cool thing in the world!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Proposal Final Draft

   I want to talk about a new form about opera performance.

  Last Sunday, our school has a show performance Schumann & Argento. There has different piece

and different singer in different room. And they will just performance in their charters. And the

audience they come to the room and they can't have any conversation with the performance, after that

just follow the line and keep walking.

  I think this is a very interesting form and style to find the new way to make music different and they

can know more or deep inside the story.

  So I want to talk about this things and finish my final draft.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Project Idea

For my project I was thinking of editing the wiki page about Eric Whitacre's piece, "Sleep." The page has little to no actual information and some of what is there is inaccurate. I wanted to do some research about the piece, how it was commissioned, who it was written for, and the story behind the change of poetry. I want to include a complete text and analysis of the piece itself. I realize I may struggle to find a lot of historical information as the piece is modern and by a living composer, but that is why I want to add something to wikipedia about it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Music in the brain

For the first time, scientists identify a neural population highly selective for music.

My friend, a condensed matter physics researcher told me recent scientific result from MIT group. Music and speech are elementary behavior in our life. From the international survey, people consider that music is a source of pleasure and positive emotion. Although music is very important for us, we do not know how our brain response to music and how music affect our emotion. Scientists have long wondered if the human brain contains neural mechanisms specific to music perception. Now, for the first time, MIT neuroscientists have identified a neural population in the human auditory cortex that responds selectively to sounds that people typically categorize as music, but not to speech or other environmental sounds. When I read this article, I realize that this research result is not only important for neuroscientists, but also for us.

 Classical music is in an embarrassing condition in this century. In the modern society, everyone feel high pressure from job, family. Most of us release the pressure and relax ourselves by listening music. Due to the promotion of popular music and time-limitation of us, more and more people are interested in popular music rather than classical music. The popular music emphasizes syncopated rhythms, slurred pitches, disjunct melodies, and other anti-classical elements. Add the fact that cuts in education have meant little has been taught about classical music and we have current situation -- difficulty getting audiences to concerts. The scientists in MIT media lab are investigating whether the music-selective population identified in their study contains subpopulations of neurons that responds to different aspects of music including rhythm, melody, and beat. This research should give us a direction for classical music education. As we known, if we want to develop classical music, we should attract audience and get them to concerts. From my perspective, we should give more effective classical music education in campus to help people to cultivate the habit of listening classical music.
How to give effective classical music education is an essential problem we must deal with. In this report, neuroscientists are going to investigate where region of brain involved in processing music. And they will give the evidence that music can affect some emotional components in our brain. As we know the relationship between music and brain, we can give every student effective music education according to personal characters. The classical music and popular music is different, everyone is also different. When we know how our brain response to different style music, the composer can create melody what people want to hear. Although classical music face a terrible time, we can change this condition using the scientific tool from neuroscientists. If you want to read this article.

please chick this link: in the brain

Monday, March 7, 2016

Why Pastiche Has Taken Over New Music

This was a very interesting article about how pretty much all new music is recognizable or a cross blend of different genres. The author makes a lot of points and provides evidence from the pop world to the "classical" world that composers/writers are using influences that can be instantly recognized by the audience. It doesn't seem like a bad thing at all, talking about how pastiche exists in every art form now a days, and that we are experiencing an "ideological shift."This all seems fine and just sort of expected, until the author brings up originality, specifically the "death" of it. I can't quite decide wether or not pastiche means the complete death of original writing..I feel that it definitely has its place, but I hope that we will see completely original works that won't be recognizable at all so that we can truly keep having new music brought into the world.

Drumkit for contemporary classical ensembles

In THE WALL STREET JOURAL, I've read the article “Wilco’s Drummer Goes Classical.”

 Glenn Kotche, best known as the drummer for the alt-rock band Wilco, has provided the backbeats and grooves for the band plus occasional tonal color since 2000. Also he has been composing for classical ensemble and collaborating with some of the world’s leading contemporary classical ensembles including the Kronos Quartet, the Silk Road Ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, So Percussion, and eighth blackbird.

 “Those lines between classical music and rock have long vanished. People are just open to good music and good experiences." he said.

 He lives in his world with rhythms, tones, patterns and sonic textures- the building blocks of music. In fact, Delta Faucets once hired him to create the sounds backing a series of commercials promoting its touch system products, which he did by using the sounds of water. He said, “Water is like a mallet hitting a surface and hitting a surface with force- that’s a percussion instrument.”
He can find music in everything, and is good at constructing them together effectively.

 I watched Wilco's performance and his latest work “Drumkit quartets." I felt similar to listening to the drum solo of the band’s song when listened to “Drumkit quartets, No.54 (Vienna)” To percussionists, what or where are the borderlines between some genres including classical music?EndFragment The specific technique? The styles? The instruments they use? I'm interested in his career and what he has been doing in the fields of both rock and classic music. It's pretty experimental.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Composers, the Audiences

      "WHY DOES ANY ONE WRITE A PIECE OF MUSIC?" This is the beginning of the article "Composers' Whys Affect The Whats" by Bernard Holland published on New York Times in 1996. Sometimes, I like questions, they make me think a lot, thus acquire a lot. Back to this question after I tried to ask myself the same thing, I realized that, turns out, for such a long time, some the pieces that I have done and some that are still working on are somehow just only for meeting my requirements for school. I am not saying that I was not passionate during created these music. To the contrary, I do loved the pieces no matter I have done already or still during the process, each pieces could stand for me as a significant step of my career of compose. The thing I am trying to point out is that I often start with a piece because the requirements from school or competitions. Is that a good thing to keep doing with? Honestly, I do not know.
        From my perspective, composer is the one who used musical language to sharing the truth of his/her own artistic voice. Yet, in some ways composer is also the one who is try to engage with people by used musical language. In this way, the composers sometimes are pandering to try to guess what people want to hear. This brings another question. Should audiences necessarily come first? When I started to learn composition, there are numerous kinds of books are talk about how to compose music. Moreover, I took different classes since middle school for learn to compose music. However, None of those books or the classes I took have told me which one should come first, the audiences or the composers themselves. 
         The article has mentioned that "Earlier in this century a lot of listeners felt intimidated for not "understanding" a lot of contemporary music. Now they are beginning to understand that they just don't like it." So, why are we still making the music that unacceptable for most of audiences? Because the wheel of music history needs us to push towards a brighter future? I doubt it. One thing, however, I never doubt about is everything is exists for a reason. As same as music, each time period of a musical style is exists for a reason. Actually, I am kind of believe that good music is always the controversial one. Also, the most successful concert, to some minds, might be the one that is not attended by anyone.

See article, click here

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Classical Music and Social Justice II

Three of Berlin's orchestras (the Koncerthausorchester, Berlin Philharmonic, and Staatskapelle) recently gave a concert exclusively for Syrian refugees. Led by Simon Rattle, the concert was meant to be gesture of welcome to those who had been displaced from their homes. Iván Fischer, the conductor of the Koncerthausorchester, even gave a welcome speech in Arabic.

The concert was well received, and gave the refugees a sense of belonging and comfort. One Syrian school teacher found the music to be "optimistic" and morale boosting in the face of the many challenges faced by herself and her fellow refugees in finding asylum. Others were reminded of similar concerts they had attended in their own homeland during more peaceful times. And still others were introduced to music they had never heard before, saying that they were excited to hear more of it.

Outreach like this opens the door for orchestras to act as ambassadors. While Germany has opened its doors to refugees, the refugees have been met with much hostility from German nationals who disagree with the decision to grant the refugees asylum. Germany is not alone in this. Citizens of many other countries have spoken out aggressively against their governments' decisions to accept refugees. Creating a concert specifically for refugees goes a long way to say that not only are they allowed to exist in the country, but that they are welcome to enjoy themselves, and to take part in the culture.

The concert also opens an accessible avenue for new audiences to experience music they may otherwise be unfamiliar with. The orchestras, rather than bemoaning a drop in ticket sales and concert attendance, have sought out a group in need of goodwill, and have opened their doors to invite them to attend their concerts. This gesture, in addition to giving some comfort to refugees, also creates the potential for larger audiences at future concerts.

In addition to this concert, the Koncerthausorchester has also produced an Arabic staging of Saint-Saëns' "Carnival of the Animals", and the Berlin Philharmonic has started an outreach program encouraging musicians to bring refugees to their rehearsals and concerts.

Again we see the potential that the classical music industry has for making a powerful statement for social justice, and for creating change in the lives of the disadvantaged. It would be wonderful to see American Orchestras follow suit, and to create similar programs.

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Harpist Finding Her Way to Jazz

I found this article interesting for many reasons, it is about Harpist Brandee Younger, a classically trained musician transitioning into the Jazz scene. The first point I found interesting was her inspiration for learning Jazz, a magazine article with a feature called "practical news for practical harpists," which talked about an influential jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby. I couldn't help but wonder if they were somehow recommending that these musicians start learning jazz style music because it is somehow more practical than than playing classical harp music.
The next part of the article talks about the conservatory she went to, The Hartt School, and how she didn't feel that she belonged there for two main reason, the fact that she did not go to an arts high school and that she was the only black musician for her instrument. At this point I was reminded of our talks about approachability and accessibility in classical music. Basically because she felt so separated from her peers she lost interest in classical music and found jazz more inviting and exciting. I don't think there is any problem with musicians focusing more on a jazz style than a typical classical style, I actually think that using a harp in jazz music sounds like a really awesome idea,  I just hope that for the future of classical music we as musicians can be relatable to all different kinds of people from all different backgrounds. If we seem snooty or un-accepting then there will be no future of classical music as it will seem like it is only for the elite.
Brandee Younger seems to have definitely built a solid reputation for herself and loves what she does, so I am really glad that she wasn't so put off by music that she gave up on it entirely, I just wonder if she would have gotten into that genre if she had felt more like she "belonged" in the classical world.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

In the midst of life we are in death

         “We live between contrasts,” Haas says, “between happiness and unhappiness, between pain and joyful feelings about desire and fulfilling.” Stark polarities are Haas’s thing. When I saw the title of an article called "Finding Beauty in Georg Friedrich Haas's Darkness", it recalled me some memories about this composer. When I first time have listened his masterwork "In vain", I was obsession with changing experiences of time, timbre, diversity pulse, microtonal tuning and dense harmonies. When the music had run through, it transforms the place where I stayed into a place of shuddering mystery. 
           Dark seem to means something to Haas. In an article of his interview, he suggesting that "the way of truth goes through the dark." He is deeply interested in the relationship between light and the aural sense, and so a number of his works have periods of complete darkness. It is a challenge to composer to find a springboard, which could transmitting life's event by emotional, and it's better be real, in other word, "authenticity". What kind of music could arouse one's feelings? This is the question that I keep asking myself every time before I start a new piece. I always become immersed in musical techniques and other parameters of music so that I forgot to focus on the very basic thing of music, like feelings. Nevertheless, every time I looked back and trying to improve my old pieces, it was hard. Each of them had their flaws. The thing is I could not picked up again the feelings of mine during the time I spend with in the process of composed. In this case, I mean, if the flaw is inevitable, I would rather it exist honestly and with feelings. From the article of his interview, he insists that "It is not important to please somebody. It is important to be honest. I am the audience. I am a human being. Those who listen are human beings. So if I can honestly love what I am doing, there will be somebody else who will love it, too." 

See the article, click here

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Classical Music and Social Justice

While researching composers of color to add to my listening assignments for students, in observance of Black History Month, I came across across an interesting article about the Dallas Bach Society's observance of BHM with a concert of music by black composer, Joseph Bologne, better known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges. While I was already familiar with this composer, and had included him in my students' listening assignments, it was certainly a surprise to find a fairly mainstream historically informed ensemble dedicating a concert to his music. I found this to not only be exciting, but also significant for two reasons:

The first is that we often think of pre-20th century classical music as a white art-form. This is partly because, by and large, it is primarily white dominated. As a result, we often relegate "black music" to the fields of jazz, blues, and other styles of music that developed out of these. While it is certainly important to acknowledge the relevance and importance of such styles as jazz and blues, limiting our scope of the contribution of people of color to these areas of music still serves to perpetuate segregation in the arts community. Whether or not it's intentional, the statement we make is basically that classical music is for white, affluent people, but we will allow the black community to participate in serious music by giving them jazz. Dallas Bach Society's concert dedicated to Saint-Georges' music is a step in the direction of acknowledging that there are contributions by people of color in classical music, and they should be celebrated.

The second reason is that this sort of programming allows for the classical music world to find a new level of relevancy. Our class has discussed the decline of classical music, citing accessibility and relevancy as possible factors. Perhaps one way of regaining relevance is by taking strides to make contributions to the realm of social justice. Classical music is no longer a source of entertainment for mainstream America, and it is doubtful that it will ever again compete with current pop moguls. Maybe it's time for classical music to stop seeking to regain this lost ground, and, instead of vying for attention by attempting to entertain, demand attention by using programs such as Dallas Bach Society's to make statements in favor of important, and socially relevant issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Whole programs could be created for the purpose of driving social justice. Concerts could explore issues of gender and sexuality through historically informed performance of cross-gender roles in 17th and 18th century Italian opera; a concert focusing on the music of female composers could be used to draw attention to the ways in which misogyny has shaped modern society; and a plethora of examples can be found of contributions by Latin American, Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Black composers to classical music to show that this is not an art-form solely for the white and affluent. The possibilities for taking classical music in this direction are endless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Modern stage arrangement with traditional chorus

Modern stage arrangement with traditional chorus
On Thursday night, February 18th, Iván Fischer brought his Budapest Festival Orchestra to Carnegie Hall with the Overture to Weber’s Der Freischütz, Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. Click here
The key feature of the performance is combining modern instruments while with an old-fashioned sound. The stage arrangement is in the current fashion: cellos and violas in the middle and basses in the back; while chorus are dressed in traditional performing costume and can be easily recognized as Central Europeans simply from their color. However, the most attracting part of this chorus is achieved by how they work coherently with the orchestra. They gave up the usage of exactitude of accents, rhythms, and phrases like most chorus normally do but used a more warm and complex sound combination to make ensemble works together.
On the other hand, the conductor Fisher rediscovered the Weber overture. He enhanced the drama of the music by rearranging the stage: split the horns and place them standing in pairs on each side of the orchestra. By doing so, the opening chorale became more deliberate, drawing attention to narrative instead of the music itself. In the performance of Liszt piano concerto, the pianist Marc-André Hamelin was a star. His touch at the keyboard was explosive or silky, depending on the demands of the moment. Hamelin’s ease in playing this piece was not showy, but made the music sing. After intermission, the Prokofiev symphony came off oddly. The orchestra played with substantial energy and power, and handled all the technical challenges.
The most interesting part of the performance is the conductor’s idea of stage arrangement and chorus’s coherence with the orchestra. He innovated the stage performance while jumping out of the tradition of the human sound in the performance. And this is the highlight of the whole performance.

Monday, February 22, 2016

New Music on Vinyl

New Music on Vinyl

This article discusses the current "trendiness" of vinyl and how new music is now being offered on vinyl. The author explains how it is not necessarily a good idea financially, but artistically many composers prefer it in their art making process. He then weighs the pros and cons of vinyl over digital, basically stating that cd's and downloads have the potential to make more money but a record has a certain draw that helps sell new music that other wise wouldn't have the same appeal. He ends the piece with a quote that states composers do what they love regardless of the expense or short term outcome, and many of them have their audience in mind when thinking about what would enhance the listening experience for them. I personally thought of records as more of a novelty in this age, they are really only used to give a vintage vibe or to create a "back in time" atmosphere, but I think it would be really cool if they became a staple again for a way to listen to music. It does add a certain warmth to the sound and if a composer had this in mind for his piece I think it would add to the experience overall.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Deconstruct serialism

  In the weeklong Focus Celebration for Milton Babbit’s centennial. Click here.

  Juilliard Orchestra tried to illustrate the Serialism composition by showing the logical path to Serialism: from Brahms, to music of early Schoenberg, to Stravinsky’s music, and finally to the Babbit’s Piano Concerto No.2.

  Each piece is carefully selected. In Brahms selection, it was the “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen,”, one of Brahms’s chorale preludes for organ. The melody is so artfully embellished and braided into the harmonic texture. That sort of disconnection between perception and knowledge — between what you hear and what you’ve been told is there — widens exponentially in Serialism, where the logic and elegance of the composition process so often result in music that sounds confusing and random; later, it chose Schoenberg’s achingly chromatic Five Pieces for Orchestra to illustrate a midway stage in weaning audiences from their dependence on melody; in Stravinsky’s “Variations (Aldous Huxley in Memoriam),” a listener is immersed in a dramatic interplay of wind, strings and syncopations; finally, for Babbit’s piano concerto, audience will experience and understand the “disconnection” between orchestra, individual instruments and piano.

  Serialism is always a headache to students because of its forbidden structure. However, in this serial performance of four composers, Juilliard Orchestra tried to de-structure the Serialism by explaining how Serialism come from: from its originality to its mature form. The historical path or evolution path illustrate the underlying principle of Milton Babbits: why he composed this way and what he wanted to show to the audience by this composition strategy. It is like constructing the skyscraper from the scratch: make you understand the complex concept by showing you the simplest idea where the concept grows from.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Leah Barclay

This week I read an interview with Leah Barclay, who is a modern composer and "sound activist." Like many of the other article I read she experiments with multimedia performances to really give the audience a deep connection with her music. I have noticed that many of the composers today use art to and the space around them to influence and contribute the music, which I believe keeps it fresh for the audience and increases interest in a field that many see as difficult to connect to. One of Leah's goals with her audience is "to teach them to listen to the sounds around them." When asked about her classical background and how it morphed into the "electroacoustic" music she creates, she explains that her surroundings have always been a big inspiration for her and the differences between each place she has traveled to are reflected in the music. She feels deeply connected with nature and hopes to communicate about the environment to her audience. She is currently working on "biosphere landscapes." I appreciate that many artists now are incorporating different types of art into music, and that they are using the sounds from their natural surroundings to influence their writing. Both composers with interviews who I have written about in the blog so far involved either the environment or architecture of the performance space as a part of the pieces, so I wonder if this use of performance mixed with art is going to stay a popular trend. I like that it speaks so directly to the audience and that it gets people excited for new concerts as well as makes it interesting. While I hope not all "classical music" remains in this style, I can see how it is helpful in grabbing an audience and getting more people into the genre.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

At the threshold

Contemporary composers explores new music's obsession with unique, focusing on the way ideas of the sounds are constructed through specific techniques and expanding the music what we have already got. Discovering new music pieces is one of the way to refresh the repertoire, and multiple music types has been offer to wide range audiences.

 The most urgent thing for composers whose music is never had a chance to heard by people is having a platform, in which the young composers could present their talents on music. The concept has raised by The Boston Modern Orchestra Project was meaningful. "A small number of employees, low fixed costs and a more flexible schedule of concerts." This is a relatively fresh model compare with the traditional orchestra. As a young composer, I am glad to see there have manifold projects or organizations about new music are raising up gradually.

For more information about The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, click here

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The blends

Last Friday. It was around 5 pm. I was starving.
I guess the roads could have been worse because it had been snowing heavily since early in the day, and the roads were already slushy. I was not happy to walk outside into the wet snow in the morning. 
But unexpectedly, the snow made the world so beautiful.
I forget my hunger so easily while enjoying walking around.
Nature has the power to make us attractive without reasons.

I feel that music also has the similar power too.
I'm attracted and moved quickly without reasons when meet great musicians or amazing music.

On the same night, I was in Sander's theatre to watch a concert by String quartet, Brooklyn rider, and singer-song writer, Gabriel Kahane, who has positioned himself amongst the vanguard of genre-bending song-writers. The program was quite interesting, the concert covered a range of works influenced by rock, pop and world music. Bridging the old and new, Schubert's string Quartet in A major, op. 29 was also performed, the movements being strategically scattered amongst the modern works, which I found artistically effective, and interesting to observe how the programming paralleled Kahane's musical style, a style in which he demonstrates his ability to combine elements of many different genres. Each genre-element used like spice in a recipe to create his unique sound. For example, in one work he combined electric guitar, singing, and piano as well. All sounds he made, including his warm and soft voice with a hint of sadness, was effective in fitting with the tone of the lyrics, all enhanced by the quartet's shimmering harmonies.

Brooklyn rider played "Bradbury studies for string quartet" composed by Kahane, and based on his song. It involves a plethora of styles, with passages of Schoenberg-like chromaticism, intermingling with phrases of Ivesian humor. This piece left a strong impression on me and I now consider it one of my favorite works. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Music and Fashion

The collaboration of two creative industries, fashion and music, comes as no surprise. Both pop singers and musicians have a significant effect on fashion. By cooperating with brands, even working as guest designer for a season collection, or just establishing his or her own brand, just as the article mentioned that "It is in this avenue that the collaboration between designers, filmmakers, set designers and musicians is newest and most exciting."
In recent years, the most obvious manifestation of the collaborative spirit between fashion and music can be found during Catwalk shows. The collections being accompanied by music is nothing new. In most instances, the designers need to find the perfect music that has the power to convey the aesthetic of his work. Choosing the right music to fit a fashion show is not an easy feat, even a miniature fault could instantly ruin a show or experience for the audiences. Dior, for the modern fashion world, has been concerned not just a luxury but also a rich history and unlimited vitality legend. From the first day of Dior set up in Paris, with the continuous development and expansion by time fly, Dior has not stopped to create innovative works. From Christian Dior himself, Yves Saint Laurent and now John Galliano, this label has never lacked genius. When people hear the name Dior role off the bright red lips of a lady, they automatically think luxury, haute couture, and desire.

Aside from Dior, such a welcome change is effects other brands as well, even for the entire fashion circle, music has effects fashion in different ways and forms. Music almost inspires all of the imagination of human, and represents the different culture from different time period and space. In the mean time, music has brought about the creation of designer, so that fashion has become the epitome of the modern culture. Music and fashion, through the combination of themselves, produced an unique form of art. About the difference between them, I think they have more common ground than the difference, which is the love for beauty and the pursuing of freedom. In fact, the combination of fashion and music, the simplest understanding is that the interpretation of music is not an accurate presentation of the fashion, but rather like a mirror, through the mirror, they saw another their selves.

For more information, click here