I’m happy to confirm that my new work for ensemble mise-en, Parallel Lives, will be premiered on October 28 in New York. This work was one of six that were selected from a worldwide call-for-proposals as part of the mise-en Festival scheduled for June 2020, and subsequently rescheduled a number of times due to Covid. Better late than never!
Parallel Lives is scored for a conducted ensemble of flute, clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), trombone, violin, cello, percussion, and piano, which constitutes the core instrumentation of ensemble mise-en. While this is a unique combination, it mirrors my 7-piece instrumentation for Sandburg Songs, my 2016 song cycle, except for the addition of the soprano and the inclusion of a guitar instead of trombone. In both works, I looked for ways to create vibrant, mysterious, and alluring colors. The title, Parallel Lives, stems from my own life experience: going back and forth from Hong Kong to the U.S. over the last five years, the way we find ourselves in unexpected situations, and the way our current lives and memories can coexist and blur.
This premiere will be the first time I’ve heard my music live since the start of the pandemic. It’s true that a composer’s work is often solitary; no one would argue otherwise. But that time alone must be balanced and nourished by the shared in-person experience of collaboration and music-making. I am so much looking forward to hearing my composition and being in New York again after so long.