I’m taking a moment from Hong Kong’s summer heat and Typhoon Merbok to report on a few things since the last post. First, I had a lovely time presenting my music at Taipei National University of the Arts. This was my first time in Taiwan, and although it was brief, I got a sense of some of the charms of the place about which I’ve long heard. It was a pleasure to speak to the composition students and tour the beautiful campus. Thank you to my friend and TNUA faculty composer Ming-Hsiu Yen for organizing my visit.
Second, and closer to home, one of the highlights of the end of the semester at HKBU was the performance by the Contemporary Music Workshop (CMW), which I organized and coached this year. In the fall, a group of twelve students presented an all-Reich program, including Clapping Music, Piano Phase, and Violin Phase. For the spring semester, a group of five pianists focused on Bartok. The concert consisted of selections from and inspired by Bartok’s 7 Pieces from Mikrokosmos, for 2 pianos, 4 hands. Some of the movements were Bartok’s original; others were improvisations based on musical elements from Bartok; and others still were—shall we say—reinterpretations of Bartok’s music. For example, one of the movements created a magical echoing texture by slowing down Bartok’s composed folk melody and presenting it in several octaves and varied rhythms by all five players. It was a pleasure for me to work with my students in bringing this creative program to fruition!
Finally, it was a privilege for me to serve as an adjudicator of the New Generation 2017 competition, sponsored by Hong Kong Composers Guild. What an inspiration it was to hear the new works of eight talented Hong Kong composers, including two students from HKBU. I am glad to be living and working in a place so dedicated to music and nurturing the next generation of creative individuals. Congratulations to all the participating composers!