Rates of Extinction
for solo piano(2016)
|Premiere||February 2017; George Washington University, Washington, DC; Ning Yu, piano|
Every day, industrial expansion and the modernization of societies push the limit of earth’s natural capacity to accommodate and sustain us. Many animal species quietly suffer and become extinct due to the harsh conditions imposed by human advancement. This piano work starts from the idea of using gradually decreasing and decelerating polyrhythmic layers and simple tempo/pulse motives to represent the heart rates of different animals that went extinct around 2015. The piece then takes a different direction in a more improvisational style. Rates of Extinction not only expresses the sorrowful, almost lament-like irreversible winding down process of precious life, but also celebrates an imagined eternal freedom through the blossoming of pianistic virtuosity.