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Posts tagged 'Lei Liang'

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: 

Lei Liang Performed by the Mivos Quartet

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), which lies at the center of New York City's Chinatown (on Centre Street, no less), presents an evening of string quartets on January 14 by composers of Chinese descent, including Lei Liang's Serashi Fragments. The concert, performed by the Mivos Quartet, will also showcase the winner of their second annual Mivos Quartet Prize for Chinese Composers, which seeks to give voice to young emerging composers of Chinese descent worldwide. 

Serashi Fragments takes its name from the Mongolian instrumentalist named Serashi (1887-1968), who played the morin khuur, otherwise known as the horsehead fiddle. Premiered by the Arditti Quartet in 2006, this piece is a living document of how Chinese identity travels, interacts with, and relates to the many ethnic, geographical, and cultural identities of East Asia. Check out a clip below.  

Lei Liang's "Xiaoxiang" Concerto Named Pulitzer Prize Finalist!

Lei Liang’s Xiaoxiang Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra has been named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work received its world premiere in its revised and expanded version in 2014 with soloist Chien-Kwan Lin and Gil Rose leading the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. This nomination marks another significant achievement for Liang, who has received an Aaron Copland Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rome Prize.

Liang evokes a specific incident in Chinese history with Xiaoxiang, a name for the region in Hunan Province where the rivers Xiao and Xiang intersect. This incident occurred during the Cultural Revolution, when a woman sought to avenge the unjust death of her husband by wailing in the forest near the house of the local official that killed him. Liang writes of the work:

Instead of displaying technical virtuosity, the soloist in this piece portrays the protagonist’s inability to articulate or utter. The soloist’s music is marked by silences. In that sense, the work may be perceived as an anti-concerto.

Listen to a full recording of BMOP's premiere performance here: 

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