Mo Sheng 墨声: Ink Sound

Chamber Music/Museum Performance
for string quartet

Frye Art Museum presents...

Mò Shēng 墨声: Ink Sound
performed by the Passenger String Quartet
January 18, 2015 | 2PM (Full) & 3:30PM

Mò Shēng 墨声: Ink Sound relates the simplicity and density of sound to the amount of ink on a brush. The string quartet plays with a calligraphic impulse, inspired by Pan Gongkai’s Exhibition.

Duration c. 45 minutes
Instrumentation two violins, viola, cello
Commissioned by the Frye Art Museum *

Program Notes
Mò Shēng 墨声: Ink Sound, a newly commissioned work by composer Byron Au Yong (歐陽良仁), will be created and performed on the occasion of the Frye Art Museum’s exhibition Pan Gongkai: Withered Lotus Cast in Iron, on view from October 4, 2014 to January 18, 2015.

A contemporary master of Chinese ink painting and current president of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Pan Gongkai (潘公凯) creates large-scale, site-specific ink paintings without interruption, in sessions that often last more than 12 hours. He views this physically demanding process as a key performative element of his work. This is the first U.S. exhibition of Pan’s art.

As a Chinese American composer based in Seattle, Au Yong has a complex relationship with China. His new music translates Pan’s Exhibition to evoke a local resonance. The music will be premiered by the Passenger String Quartet in the Frye Art Museum galleries.

Musicians use techniques that vary the bowing pressure, similar to the textures of ink density that respond to both Pan’s art as well as the exhibition environment through the shifting spatial placement of the musicians. Au Yong’s notation contains precise musical gestures that can be read in any order by the string quartet, similar to how an ink brush painting can be experienced.

Mò Shēng 墨声: Ink Sound is commissioned by the Frye Art Museum, with additional support from Nanette Fok and Brad Tong. The work was finished at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida.

* Free programs at the Frye Art Museum are made possible by community support. To contribute, please contact Kate Godman by email at or telephone at (206) 432-8217.

Pan Gongkai: Withered Lotus Cast in Iron at Frye Art Museum
Pan Gongkai: Dispersion and Generation at Zhejiang Art Museum
Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong works with choreographers, scientists, sculptors, technologists, writers, and experts in multiple disciplines. Examples include Farewell: a fantastical contemplation on America’s relationship with China, commissioned by Spectrum Dance Theatre, Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas, 64 musical miniatures based on the I Ching 易經, and Stuck Elevator, a comic-rap-scrap-metal-opera.
Byron Au Yong: Yiju
Byron Au Yong: Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
Kidnapping Water:
Bottled Operas
Byron Au Yong & Christopher Yohmei Blasdel: BreathPlay