Instrumentation: [bass fl, bass cl. Fr.Hrn, Tpt, Percussion, spatialized]
Commissioned by Lucerne Festival
We breathe, to survive, to re-energize, to be. There is the tension that comes with the intake and the release with the deflation:
The Expectations and the Acceptances.
With each action taken
new thoughts are activated
Through each exhale
Expressions are transmitted from my body To resume a temporary shape of air
Once was the patterns of me Now becomes part of you
Instrumentation: viola, double bass
Commissioned by the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble
Work for two instruments with seven explorable harmonic objects.
Instrumentation: alto flute, bass clarinet, piano, violin, cello, percussion
Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring
This work sets out as an exploration into the various states one engages with the musical, personal and spatial elements during a performance. Inspired by Gaston Bachelard’s seminal work The Poetics of Space in which he, in describing the transitional relationship between the ‘outside’ and ‘inside’, of spaces, of thoughts, and of human relationships, writes:
[...] on the surface of being, in that region where being wants to be both visible and hidden, the movements of opening and closing are so numerous, so frequently inverted, and so charged with hesitation, that we could conclude on the following formula: man is half- open being.
Half-open being, as Bachelard describes, thus forms the general conceptual, structural and timbral constructions for the work.
Instrumentation: Percussion sextet and live spatialized electronics
Commissioned by Red Fish Blue Fish
A creature buried beneath layers of cognitive dust called memory, set mobile, by the faintest reminiscence of that familiar light, smell, movement, sound. Unleashed and floods rationality, its tentacles crawl over the real-estate of the mind, transport you back to the one time, space, emotion, and person.
Tangled in the wild web of thoughts, this past connects to the present as it is to future – as if time continues in both parallel and circular, overwrites causality as it detaches the actions you take right this moment to the outcome that you already know will unfold in due time.
You know it will arrive - you heard it coming, it came and is coming; between soaking wet in recollection and drying off on the land you are currently standing, adapting, to an amphibious state of mind.
Instrumentation: String Quartet
Influenced by the way physical materials can degrade over time, the piece aims to explore the process that provides the evolution in which the material transforms into a completely new identity, with new behaviours and characteristics. The four pitches that made up the entire piece derived from my first string quartet - Rules of Attraction (2012), which ends its pointillistic musical discourse with an upward glissando towards the full expression of the notes G,G#,A and Bb.
And at this point is where Dwindling begins.
Written very much as ‘part II’ of Rules, I set out to create a new interpretation generated from these pre-existing elements. Motivated by concepts in systems theory that differentiates between ‘open’ and ‘close’ behaviours of defined sub-groups, the notes G and A are initiated to provide the ‘frame’, the atmospheric boundaries (i.e. the ‘closed’ system) within which other things inhabits. In an analogous way, also referencing the way earth provides for life to prosper.
As a contained group, the stability of the system is closely influenced by the behaviours of its contents - in this case, the G# and Bb groups, particularly in the transference of motion and energy.These two pitch sets elicit new possibilities that sprout out of the fertile ground of the given environment, as open systems, they are thus able to fuel on the exchange of their material contents as well as energy with the outer, closed, counterpart, forming a co-existing , reliant and living partnership.
Instrumentation: Flute, cello.
Influenced by the Spinozan belief that the body is capable to be affected and modulated upon encounters with other bodies, I am keen to explore the scenario in which the inter/pre-personal interactions between the duo of musicians are exaggerated and reacted upon.
Seigworth and Greggs in The Affect Theory Reader refers to this intuitive, pre-personal articulation as shimmers that hovers between skins – the ‘determinate organ of perception’. Such thought, if tracing back to that of Barthes’ who calls shimmer as an ‘exhaustingly nuanced space’ whose meaning is ‘subtly modified according to the angle of the subject’s gaze’, led to an impetus to write a piece addressing such description of the inter-personal relationship between the individuals.
The piece is predominantly based on the gesture of ‘breathing’, generated through the various playing techniques of the flute that required different intensities of air pressure, as well as lengths of air. The cello then imitates the timbre and rhythm of these flute techniques through its own idiomatic way of playing, while provides the overall pitch contents for the work, through the utilization of one particular multiphonics based on the IV string.
The performers are instructed to sit back-to-back to each other, thus exploring the potentiality in the presence of microscopic fragments of emotions being expressed beyond the reliance in the exchanges of audible musical dialogues.
Instrumentation: clarinet, flute, violin, cello and piano
Commissioned by Ensemble Paramirabo
Instrumentation: violin, piano, tenor saxophone, percussion
*version 2018: double bass, piano, tenor saxophone, percussion
Commissioned by Thing Edge New Music Collective
Something mesmerizing takes place when sound is produced by a performer on his/her chosen instrument. The aural sensation, as it is filtered through our ears, evokes certain reminiscence of the past, or future; while the eyes follows closely to the performer’s bodily movements as an additional layer of innately human and social interaction being expressed beyond the audible.
My aim in TEE/Tee/T is to create a scenario where the musicians are communicating beyond the reliance on sonic materials. In creating a counterpoint between actions and sounds, individuals and collective, each physical movement is derived from some of the idiomatic ways of playing the instruments. In deconstructing each step of the actions into many micro steps towards one final trajectory, the familiar sounds are also dissected into many nuances before it is arriving at its complete expression.
Audio (coming soon) Video
Instrumentation: clarinet, flute, violin, cello, piano, percussion
Commissioned by the Dorian Le Gillian Composition Award
Instrumentation: string quartet
Primarily addressing a fascination on how small entities of particles, points, atoms, individual organisms and, persons, bond with one another through various rules, laws, and other procedures that governs each and every single connection. This is much more of a query into the ‘attractions’ between physical (or sometimes metaphysical) things, and how this particular ‘force’ gradually connects, transfers, and transforms between each item as they collate and forming amongst themselves new patterns, structures, and new beginnings.
Instrumentation: alto flute, guitar
Limerence, the desire for the moment when the inner and outer patterns mesh; when the extraneous stimuli is absorbed and reflected through inner responses, is a term primarily used in psychology to describe a state of being obsessive, particularly in love.
This piece aims to explore the idea further into a broader, and more universal planes.
Instead of addressing the idea as a heart-felt and literal presentation, here it is considered as a ‘condition’ - governed by contrasting patterns in both ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ parameters. The conflicts between states of tranquility and aggressiveness are presented in each of the parts as micro statements, while the timbral and gestural imitations between the instruments generates the ‘outer’ stimuli which influence the individual’s ‘inner’ behaviors, seeking an eventual agreement and harmonious coexistence, an union,
It might be an infatuation, an addiction, a sense of being totally (and crazy blindly) in love, or as some psychologists call it, a depersonalization/ derealization disorder. Whatever it is, the rather provocative nature of the subject yields for a deeper understanding and investigation which I am intending to delve into in future works. Limerence I, could be the first of many.
Instrumentation: clarinet, violin, cello, piano
Commissioned by Beijing Modern Music Festival
This is a work about a process: a process of searching for an equilibrium, a recovery, a convalescence, an anchor in the midst of chaos; of learning to balance in between moving forward, relapsing backward, and standing undecidedly still; of reminiscing what has been lost, yet looking forward to what is to come; of a cyclic repetition, finding ways and reaching towards that innocent and unadulterated beginning.