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Lei Liang - A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams

A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams (2017)
for orchestra
Winner of the 2021 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition
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World Premiere:
April 21, 2018; Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor
Jordan Hall, Boston MA 

Commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Artistic Director Gil Rose, it was made possible by a generous grant from the Jebediah Foundation New Music Commissions. 

Program Note:
I always wanted to create music as if painting with a sonic brush. I think in terms of curves and lines, light and shadows, distances, the speed of the brush, textures, gestures, movements and stillness, layering, blurring, coloring, the inter-penetration of ink, brushstrokes, energy, breath, spatial resonance, spiritual vitality, void and emptiness.

A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams meditates on the loss of landscapes of cultural and spiritual dimensions. The work implies an intention to preserve and resurrect parallel landscapes - both spiritual and physical – and sustain a place where we and our children can belong.

Using a sonic brush, I paint an inner journey: A landscape emerges out of darkness, illuminated by an artist’s inner vision; distant contours, shapes, hints of color, and emptiness. As the viewer draws closer and closer to the landscape, lines and human presence begin to emerge, sounds to resonate, until we become one with each of its brush-strokes and ink splashes, with its every breath. The mountains are breathing, singing and roaring. The landscape vibrates, pulsates and dances; it takes flight; it stirs, swells, rises, grinds, surges, stretches and blooms; trembling, jolting, and collapsing, it breaks into fragments. ... Rain – drops and drops of rain – returns, to heal the landscape in ruin. A prayer, a resurrection, the rain brings life back to the landscapes, and it regains its gentle heartbeat.

--Lei Liang

To learn more about the world premiere recording of A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams, recorded by BMOP and conducted by Gil Rose for BMOP sound, click here.



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Photo by Alex Matthews