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Posts tagged 'Callithumpian Consort'

Lei Liang: Deriving Worlds

What would it mean to listen to a painting? What is the relationship between landscape, memory, gesture, vision, and sound—and how can technology help us begin to answer this question? Lei Liang has been exploring these intersections in his musical compositions: Brush-Stroke, In Praise of Shadows, and Listening for Blossoms all enmesh Liang's visual and perceptual experience with his own sonic world. Now, Liang has embarked on an ambitious project to combine this composerly practice with contemporary science, engineering, and technology, resulting in a three-part composition entitled Hearing Landscapes.

(Liang studies multi-spectral scans of Huang Binhong painting; © Alex Matthews)

As a composer-in-residence at the University of San Diego's Qualcomm Institute since 2014, Liang has been working on a project that explores the correlations between sound and vision in traditional Chinese art. "Hearing Landscapes" begins with the paintings of Huang Binhong, a chinese painter whose freehand calligraphic landscapes continued the long tradition of ink-wash painting that dates back to the Tang dynasty into the 1950s. With support from the Mozhai Foundation, who loaned Liang artworks by Huang Binhong, and several grants from the National Science Foundation and the Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities award, Liang and a team of scientists and engineers produced ultra-high resolution, multi-spectral scans of Binhong's works. From these scans, Liang and another team of engineers produced software to translate Binhong's brush-strokes into the sonic world of spatialized, granular synthesis, which Liang uses in his three-part electro-acoustic composition, Hearing Landscapes

A new documentary has just been released that features excerpts from "Water and Mist", one of the three parts of Liang's Hearing Landscapes, alongside interviews with the project team and stunning footage of the project. Watch the film above, and check out a performance of Liang's Brush-Stroke with the Callithumpian Consort, below: 

An Exciting Month for Lei Liang

You've probably seen Lei Liang's name crop up on this blog before; as one of our first composers, Lei now has over twenty-five works available through PSNY! And that doesn't include his works published by Schott Music, such as Yuan, for saxophone quartet, or VERGE, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. Lei is a prolific composer, and we're proud to make his work available for any interested performers. (And judging by your response, interested performers abound!)

Up in Boston, the Callithumpian Consort has just commissioned Lei to write a new piece for ensemble -- Bamboo Lights -- and in addition to the premiere on February 21st, Callithumpian will offer a program they call an "Open FOR'm": "equal parts teach-in, demonstration, free-form discussion, open rehearsal, Q and A session, pre-concert lecture, and post-concert reception." The FOR'm takes place on February 20th at the Isabella Stewart Gardener museum, and Lei's works will include Brush Stroke (2004), Aural Hypothesis (2010), Bamboo Lights (2013), and Parts for a Floating Space (2002). 

We applaud the Callithumpian Consort for their innovative programming (which, this season, includes works by John Cage, Earle Brown, and Alvin Lucier) and their thorough collaboration with Lei, whose music uniquely bridges lyrical figuration with strikingly original performance techniques for ensemble, organized with the masterful energy of a composer pushing the limits of contemporary composition. In much of Liang's music, haunting, etherial motifs emerge out of the wilderness of the real, the noisy, non-traditional soundings of instruments pushed to their limits, often performed on instruments whose timbres reflect an emergent embodiment of the human voice. We've edited together excertps of several of Lei's works, including some of those to be performed this week; take some time to listen to these on good speakers or headphones! 

And wind players, take note: we've just made Lei's Lake for two flutes or clarinet and flute, available on PSNY. 

For more on Lei's compositional process, check out an interview he did with WQXR during his residency at the American Academy in Rome in 2012: 

We congratulate Lei and the Callithumpian Consort for this exciting program! 

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