Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts
Westminster Choir College Residency
March 22 to April 14, 2016

Composer Byron Au Yong and librettist Aaron Jafferis are on a four-week residency at Westminster Choir College to workshop Trigger.

Au Yong's residency workspace

Free Public Events at Westminster Choir College
March 24 · Composer Lecture · Talbott Library
April 9 · Locations and Dislocations Keynote by Au Yong · Bristol Chapel
April 9 · Locations and Dislocations Conference Concert · Bristol Chapel
April 12 · Trigger Workshop Public Presentation · Hamilton House

Byron Au Yong and students at Westminster Choir College
Au Yong and students gather around the piano to learn a song from Trigger

Guest Teaching
Au Yong and Jafferis lead eight classes as part of a Music and Trauma course. They and the students present material from Trigger at the end of the workshop. In addition, Au Yong and Jafferis discuss teaching difficult histories with over 100 students in the Music Education Lab. For composition students, Au Yong gives a Composer Lecture and the following week leads a Composer Masterclass.

Trigger Workshop Presentation

Special Thanks
Elaine Caron, Dr. Eric Hung, Dr. Sharon Mirchandani, Dr. Sharon Morrow, Associate Dean Marshall Onofrio, Dr. Joel Phillips, Anne Sears, Dean Matthew Shaftel, and Westminster Choir College students

Turbine Lyrics

Video: About the Lyrics

18th and 19th century text compiled by Byron Au Yong (bibliography below)
1A By the Trees
the stream there
round your steps

1B In the Gazebo 
whispering air
timid call

1C Near the River 
beneath the sky

1D Around the Plaza 
balmy zephyr
with slow steps
2.1 Gilman 
through dark
feel the cool
wheels rolled
iron arms
feel the cool
breaking out
2.1A Dickens 
jerked about
turned on
poured off

2.1B Twain 
first bridge
fine dam

2.1C Power 
welling through the pipes deluging thirsty streets 

2.1D Finch 
right lines
right angles

2.1E Murray 
peaceful city 
2.2 Quadrille Chorus 
Chestnut, Walnut, Spruce, and Pine 
2.2 Quadrille Caller 
right & left four
balance & turn
ladies chain
half promenade
forward & back
cross over
chassez de chassez
back again
all round
back to back
read to the right
chassez out
form the ring
all forward
back turn partners
two give right
cross over two
six hands round
turn partners
in a simple handsome building
a wall of solid rock
two points give passage to a stream
clear and bright as crystal
in a stone basin: a cup for the thirsty traveller
inexhaustible supply
from this reservoir 
cylinders and pistons
miraculous mechanical
34 Pumps
Check Valve Seat
Seat Ring Sewer Valve
Ring for Compressor
3-25 Piston Ring
Buck-eye Engine
8 Filling Flange
Rachet on Shop Crane
6 Joint Bureau
M.G.D. Motor
4.1-4.2 A Drop (Story Telling) 
gentle friend
a hidden stream
goes playfully 
haunting thoughts
beneath the glowing sun 
a drop pulses
then another and darker
torn one by one and sold 
4.3 The Guilty (Sadness) 
if the clouds
the guilty 
how then
the fluttering wings
the voice of grief

lost ones
beseeching breath
poured out 
4.4 Moon (Moonlight) 
faintly glimmering 
how soft the beam
the gloom of night

star spangled glory
whisper to me
tell what awaits 
4.5 Flood (Schuylkill) 
deep and shaded pool
old trees lift their tall heads against the sky

mournful echo
when the hush
steals the calm 
oh how one charmed word will start a thousand breathing memories 
4.6 Transition (ASTRÆA) 
loved by stars
a granite ledge
to gaze from the sea’s edge
there for purging light
there for purifying storms
its depths reflect all forms
justice journeying to harbor
afloat fair city
through the gathering like a strong giant that has just received the breath of life
I shall never forget

ding ding ding
what have we here?
a ruddy face with a clear honest eye
and the noble ship breaks proudly through the water…
· Critical and Poetical Works, John Penn (1797) 
· The Poetry of Traveling in the United States, Caroline Howard Gilman (1838)
· American Notes for General Circulation, Charles Dickens (1913)
· Mark Twain’s Letters, Mark Twain (1853-1866)
· Impressions of America, Tyrone Power (1836)
· Travels in the United States of America and Canada, John Finch (1833)
· Travels in North America, Charles Augustus Murray (1834-1836)
· The Fairmount Quadrilles, John Hewitt (1836)
· Gazetteer of the United States of America, John Hayward (1854) 
· Travels in the United States, Alexander Mackay (1846-1847)
· Domestic Manners of Americans, Francis Trollope (1832)
· Transatlantic Sketches, Captain J.E. Alexander (1833)
· Inscriptions on Templates for Turbine Parts, Philadelphia Water Department (1920s)
· Essays, Philanthropic and Moral, Elizabeth Margaret Chandler (1836)
· Early Poems, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) 
· American Notes for General Circulation, Charles Dickens (1913)
Video: History of the Fairmount Water Works with Adam Levine

Special Thanks
Adam Levine (Philadelphia Water Department), Karen Young (Fairmount Water Works), Leah Stein, Library Company of Philadelphia


Third Residency
April 11 to 19, 2015
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech

Interviews & Meetings
· Center for the Arts + ICAT (Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology) Staff
· Director of Alumni Relations, Office of Recovery and Support
· Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center
· Gun Dialogue Planning Team
· VTV Family Foundation

Events & Performances
· 3.2 Mile Run in Remembrance (Aaron participates)
· April 16th Memorial Lighting of Ceremonial Candle (midnight)
· April 16th Moment of Silence (9:43am & 11:27pm)
· April 16th Community Picnic
· April 16th Memorial Extinguishing of Ceremonial Candle (11:59pm)
· Australian Chamber Orchestra
· Creating to Heal: an exhibition of quilts and recordings from the April 16th condolence archive
· Islamic Worlds Festival
· Itraab Ensemble
· Kayhan Kalhor and Brooklyn Rider
· VT Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Pageant

Thanks to the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech for a third residency full of meetings and learning. Aaron and Byron met with members of Conversation NRV, as well as faculty, staff and students from Virginia Tech who are in Alumni Relations, Asian American Student Union, the Cook Counseling Center, Sociology, the VTV Family Foundation, and more. It was an opportunity to attend events related to the April 16th Memorial and Islamic Worlds Festival.

Additional Thanks
Scott Bailey, Alan Davis, Debbie Day, Naphtali Fields, Christopher Flynn, Jim Hawdon, Miles Le, Holly Lesko, Andy Morikawa, Samaha Family, Ellie Sturgis, Leighton Vila


Second Residency
October 27 to November 9, 2014
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech

The theatrical performance serves as an anchor for Trigger Community: thematically-related artistic, scholarly and technology resources in the form of academic panels, digital stories, site-specific events, spoken word slams, street performances, and more developed by local groups in consultation with the creative team. Trigger Community, considers the word “trigger” as an adjective and verb, as well as noun. Groups are invited to think about belonging and isolation, forgiveness and justice, freedom and safety, along with other themes in relation to education, guns, race, and other topics sparked by Trigger. Individuals from campus clubs and civic organizations converse through the creation of art as strategies to prevent public shootings.

Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, Basetrack Live, Bretano String Quartet, Stories We Carry

Special Thanks
Jon Catherwood-Ginn and Ruth Waalkes (Center for the Arts), Conversation NRV, Gene Deisinger, Nikki Giovanni, Jacob Grohs, Jim Hawdon, Holly Lesko, Peace and Violence class, Students for Non-Violence, VT Expressions, and others

Turbine Residency

From October 12-26, 2014, I worked with dancers & singers, researched the history of the Fairmount Water Works and met with Philadelphia experts. This was in preparation for TURBINE, a site-responsive performance co-commissioned by Leah Stein Dance Company and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia for the 200th anniversary of this historic site.

Video: Planning Turbine

· on-site singing & movement studies with Leah Stein Dance Company
· attended Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Big Sing rehearsal at Girard Chapel

Round Table
· Byron Au Yong, composer
· Michelle Hollander, water resources engineer
· Adam Levine, consultant, Philadelphia Water Department
· Deenah Loeb, executive director, City Parks Association
· Leah Stein, choreographer
· Karen Young, executive director, Fairmount Water Works

Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia
· illustrations & photographs of the Water Works
· found article that talked about the necessary "din of industry"
· noted how smokestacks and pastoral scenes co-existed in paintings

Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
· water treatment, hands-on displays, historic details, ecological action steps
· quotes from Charles Dickens and Frances Trollope

Philadelphia Water Department (Philly H20)
· interviewed author/historical consultant Adam Levine
· learned about newspaper clippings & historic cartoons
· received copies of sheet music inspired by the Water Works from the 1800s

Philadelphia Wastewater Treatment Plant
· visit with Adam Levine and Leah Stein
· gathered wood templates from the 1920s
· saw incoming sewage area
· received Imagining Philadelphia: Travelers' Views of the City from 1800 to the Present

River Boat Ride (Schuylkill Banks)
· named Pennsylvania's 2014 River of the Year
· Schuylkill feels more like a canal with concrete sides

· Eiko: A Body in a Station at 30th Street Station
· Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe, Sō Percussion at Princeton

Guest Teaching & Site Visit
· Science Leadership Academy
· Sidney Hillman Apartments

The Water Works was the first urban public water supply system in the United States. From my visit, I realized that Philadelphia and Seattle are built between two waterways. Moreover, both cities protect and restore urban watersheds. It's great to know these cities advocate for clean water as a civic obligation and human right.


First Residency
April 15-18, 2014
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech

· Dean of Students
· Center for Peace Director
· Directing and Public Dialogue, School of Performing Arts Professor
· Community Engagement Research Faculty

· April 16th Memorial Lighting of Ceremonial Candle (11:59pm)
· April 16th Community Picnic
· April 16th Memorial Extinguishing of Ceremonial Candle (11:59pm)
· Elizabeth Wallace Pastels of the 32 Hokies lost on April 16, 2007
· From Then to Now: an exhibition in two parts about April 16th

Special Thanks
Center for the Arts, Tom Brown, Jim Hawdon, Bob Leonard, Holly Lesko

Inspired by Palindrome Poems

On the bottom right corner of every Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden page, find a quote from composer John Cage. I modeled the score to feel similar to Chinese landscape paintings that include calligraphy inscriptions. There are 17 Cage quotes + one Occupy Wall Street quote.
Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden, a page from the score
Additionally, the score draws inspiration from huiwen shi (回文诗) palindrome poems. Su Hui (苏蕙), a poet from the 4th century, innovated this type of poetry. Characters can be read vertically, horizontally, forwards, backwards & diagonally. Especially significant is her Xuanji Tu (璇玑图) armillary-sphere map. Using five colors of silk thread, she embroidered 841 Chinese characters into a 29 x 29 grid to create lines of poetry that can be read in any direction for a total of 2,848 poems!

Su Hui's Xuanji Tu
The Cage quotes on the score follow this idea adapted to English. The text is scattered to allow the eye to read non-linearly and savor the puzzle-like relationship between individual words. Cage opens up the space between words in some of his text such as Lecture on Nothing. I decided to open up all the text for the score.

Below are the inscriptions included in Occupy Orchestra 無量園 Infinity Garden. See the score for the scattered text version.
what is it that
is not just beautiful but also
ugly, not just good, but also
evil, not just true, but also
an illusion ?

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

questions .

John Cage, David Cope interview (1980)

nothing .

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Not one sound fears
the silence
that ex-tinguishes it.
And no silence exists
that is not pregnant
with sound.

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

Wherever we are,
what we hear is mostly noise.
When we ignore it,
it disturbs us,
when we listen to it,
we find it fascinating.

John Cage, The Future of Music: Credo (1937)

be honored
rather than
enslaved .

John Cage, Joseph Mazo interview (1983)

Being involved
in the complexities of a nation
at war
and a city in business-as-usual
led me to know
that there is a
difference between
large things
and small things,
big organizations
and two people alone
in a room together.

John Cage, A Composer's Confessions (1948)

It is not irritating to be where one is .
It is only irritating
to think one would like
to be somewhere else.

John Cage, Lecture on Nothing (1959)

As I
older I
interested in
almost anything
that comes to my attention.

John Cage, Charles Atlas documentary (1983)

I deduced that we were in a
Tower of Babel situation
because no one was understanding
anybody else ;
for instance, I wrote
a sad piece
and people hearing it

John Cage, Paul Cummings interview (1974)

True discipline is
not learned
in order
to give it up ,
but rather in order
to give oneself up .

John Cage, Richard Kostelanetz interview (1970)

My feeling was that beauty
yet remains in intimate situations;
that it is quite hopeless
to think and act
impressively in
public terms.

John Cage, A Composer's Confessions (1948)

All you need is to be intelligent...
to know how to distinguish those
aspects of existence in which there is,
in an obvious way, good and evil,
and to go in the direction of the good.

John Cage, Daniel Charles interview (1968-1978)

produce a movement
upwards into the air -- the
space, the silence,
the nothing that supports us .

John Cage, Lecture on Something (1959)

affirm this life,
not to bring
order out of chaos
nor to suggest improvements
in creation,
but simply to wake up
to the very life we're living .

John Cage, Four Statements on the Dance (1956)

At every point society acts
to keep you from doing
what you have to do.

John Cage, Moira & William Roth interview (1973)

Everybody has a song
which is no song at all :
it is a process of singing ,
and when you sing ,
you are where you are .

John Cage, Lecture on Nothing (1959)

To the people of the world...
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble;
occupy public space; create a process to address
the problems we face, and generate solutions
accessible to everyone.

Occupy Wall Street (2011)

Floppy Bunny Ears

As a composer, I often find myself sitting in concert halls with audiences of a dozen people or less. The audience size does not necessarily reflect the quality of the performance or accessibility of the music. Rather I feel it has to do with the perceived image of post-classical music as irrelevant.

Rather than bemoan the lack of attendance, how about if being one of the intrepid few in the audience became a bragging right? Concerts could be framed as an escape from the everyday where refreshing audio adventures crack open the surface of sound to delve deep into a listener's consciousness. Consider the repertoire of a new music concert as Twilight Zone episode after Twilight Zone episode. Programs that encourage surprise and investigation are audience favorites.

Help already-existing audience leaders attract their friends to these terrifying unknown performances of:
  • shouting contests in made-up languages
  • fluorescent lights scraping on electric guitars
  • double string quartets playing slowly shifting drones
  • and floppy bunny ears
Now, doesn't that sound fun?

Circle of Vths Decoder

circle of 5ths decodermDecks has created the amazing Circle of Vths Decoder. This interactive page shows circle of fifths relationships for multiple scales. Along with diatonic scales and medieval modes, you can decode:
  • Messiaen modes
  • Indian ragas
  • Blues scales
  • and more...
If you want to see structural harmonic relationships using either keys or function (letter names or roman numerals), check out this Circle of Vths Decoder. I will use this graphic tool to build chords idiomatic to certain harmonies + to spur intriguing modulations.

National Jukebox

Do you like Tin Pan Alley? Ragtime? Victrola 78s?

The U.S. Library of Congress now offers historic recordings free to the public online at the National Jukebox.

You can even make and share playlists. I found four recordings of Chinese opera recorded in Philadelphia in 1903 (!)

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Chives

My mind wanders as I take a break in the vegetable patch. I am stuck trying to finish music for 3Seasons.

The herb box contains flowering chives and thick sage leaves bring me outside where waving neighbors bicycle along saying that they love the garden. I feel the hesitant Seattle sun mixed with rain sprinkle an encouraging nod towards me tending the vegetable patch. My mind works through sound bytes and starts to weave sonic textures as I weed and prune, transplant and mulch, water and taste.

Tending edibles finds a parallel with composing music. Both take time, patience and the willingness to let go and be surprised.

Plants have their own ways of growing. By paying attention to the parsley, sage, rosemary and chives, my time as a composer is renewed where I can return to composing music refreshed and confident.

We Upcycle

Even though I live in Seattle and have facial hair, this post about upcycling is not a plug for dumpster diving. Rather, it is to share my excitement about creativity and sustainability.

Activate your imagination from what you already have to prevent waste with useful items made from what you would normally discard. Unlike recycling, upcycling encourages innovation along with resourcefulness.

For inspiration, I found a fantastic Viennese upcycling site. They are on day 25 of a 30-day challenge to design beautiful objects 30 days in a row. For everyone who sends them a photo of an upcycle project, will add a day to their challenge.

Today's project includes branches to hang clothes and display shoes.


On my flight from Toronto to Seattle, I watched the documentary Collapse. Airplane seats are a confining space to "enjoy" movies, especially now that seat belts must be strapped whenever one is seated. Have you noticed that the movie selection always includes terrifying and seemingly inappropriate flicks about the world ending?

I chose to watch this documentary not realizing how captivated I would become. Michael Ruppert was an investigative journalist. I was fascinated by his calm urgency and insight into how to survive inevitable revolutions. I was touched by his breakdown in thinking about President Obama. I was heartened to hear that his solutions included growing food and strengthening local networks.

Author Seth Godin recently wrote:
¡Note! Like all revolutions, this is an opportunity, not a solution, not a guarantee. It's an opportunity to poke and experiment and fail and discover dead ends on the way to making a difference. The old economy offered a guarantee -- time plus education plus obedience = stability. The new one, not so much. The new one offers a chance for you to take a chance and make an impact.
I think about Collapse and Godin's call-to-action. Increasingly, the idea of infinite growth promised by advanced capitalism leads to devastation. I am thankful to be in a neighborhood with vegetable gardens surrounded by folks who take pleasure in digging and planting. I listen to my chickens and notice the breeze or birds overhead.

Could the revolution be quiet or will there be riots on Main Street USA?

Banff Arts Centre

This is the second full day I have been at the Banff Arts Centre as part of the 2011 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab. Already, I have seen three deer: one from our rehearsal room window and the other two walking along the snowy paths. I have definitely been inspired to think differently about Stuck Elevator.

Here's the view from my work area. A long ways from a stuck elevator in the Bronx, I find creativity and generosity with amazing collaborators, fellow theater artists and the support staff. The environment encourages me to expand the story and music in playful and unexpected ways.

Eight Quotes

Nobel Lectures: From the Literature Laureates, 1986 to 2006 contains 21 talks given by writers upon accepting the Nobel Prize for their work. I initially checked out this book to read more from Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka and found myself captivated by many of the other authors.

Following are eight quotes I gathered from reading this collection.

Orhan Pamuk
In My Father's Suitcase (1986), Pamuk speaks about the fear of reading his father's writing: "For me, to be a writer is to acknowledge the secret wounds that we carry inside us, the wounds so secret that we ourselves are barely aware of them, and to patiently explore them, know them, illuminate them, to own these pins and wounds, and to make them a conscious part of our spirits and our writing."

Harold Pinter
In Art, Truth and Politics (2005), Pinter writes about hidden crimes and the challenges revealing the truth: "I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road.... Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people'.... Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think."

Imre Kertész
In Heureka! (2002), Kertész reflects on the Hungarian dictatorship in the mid-20th century: "I understood that hope is an instrument of evil, and the Kantian categorical imperative--ethics in general--is but the pliable handmaiden of self-preservation."

Gao Xingjian
In The Case for Literature (2000), Gao cautions not to celebrate peace in isolation: "This new century will not be immune to catastrophes simply because there were so many in the past century, because memories are not transmitted like genes."

Toni Morrison
In The Bird Is in Your Hands (1993), Morrison's parable about the transfer of wisdom is especially powerful: "Language can never 'pin down' slavery, genocide, war. Nor should it yearn for the arrogance to be able to do so."

Derek Wolcott
In The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory (1992), Wolcott remembers a village performance by Indian Trinidadian perfomers: "They were not amateurs but believers."

Joseph Brodsky
In Aesthetics and Language (1987), Brodskly reflects on the Russian Revolution of 1917: "For in a real tragedy, it is not the hero who perishes; it is the chorus."

Wole Soyinka
In This Past Must Address Its Present (1986), Soyinka rages against the oppressive writing of Frobenius, Hume, Hegel, Motesquieu and others: "Warning! This work is dangerous for your racial self-esteem."

Reading these lectures from the literature laureates reminded me of the power of words, written in isolation, to grapple with the social condition.

New Finds with Old Friends

The other night, I met with Kris and Hiro at Native Foods in Westwood. We talked about Björk's interview on NPR and Raghava KK's talk on TED. It's always exciting to share new artistic finds with old friends.

I worked with Kris on Two by Four in 2003. The music features him singing the Japanese and Latin names for stars. I was reminded about how attentive to invention I was during that time. I composed Two by Four in August, while I was relocating from Los Angeles to New York, after visiting On Ensemble in Mount Shasta.

Kris continues to be thoughtful and rigorous in his practice as a musician. Meeting with longtime artistic friends like him refreshes my intellectual rigour and aesthetic excitement as a composer. This is an especially significant reminder during the transition from summer into winter, in this time of gathering crops.

Walking with ears open on World Listening Day

The first World Listening Day is Sunday, July 18th. There are listening events in cities such as Colorado Springs, Hong Kong, Rijeka, Perth, Cumbria, Chicago, and Seattle. Seattle's event includes a Greenlake soundwalk hosted by the Seattle Phonographers Union. One of their members is sound artist/audio engineer Doug Haire. Haire worked with me on the recording Walking released in 2001. Here's an excerpt:

As inspiration for the music, I walked around Greenlake at different hours and listened creating an aural sketchbook similar to Claude Monet's series of haystacks painted at different times of the day. My favorite time at the lake was around 5AM, when the morning was wrapped in fog, people quietly fished, and ducks slowly awoke. On weekdays from 7AM to 9AM, the power walkers and joggers took over with individual Walkman headphones plugged into their ears. This shifted Greenlake from a place of being to one of doing.

With listening, it is possible to merge both being and doing. Thanks Seattle Phonographers Union for hosting a listening event around Greenlake. The free guided soundwalk happens this Sunday from 10AM to 4PM. Participants will be briefed on acoustic ecology and intentional listening inspired by the World Soundscape ProjectWorld Listening ProjectWorld Forum for Acoustic Ecology, and phonographers around the world.

To Tickle the Ears

I've started teaching Listening to Music again at Cornish College of the Arts.

Three of my favorite sites to discover music are:
  • Musique Contemporaine - a French site that includes many composers
  • UbuWeb - a resource dedicated to avant-garde and outsider sound art
  • NewMusicBox - an online forum from the Amercian Music Center
I'm always searching for music to tickle the ears. Suggestions for me and my students?

Creativity Workshops

Up next, I teach two creativity workshops for Portland Taiko. This is an expansion of a workshop I taught at the North American Taiko Conference in Los Angeles over the summer.

The workshop is called Seven Ways to Develop Material. Here's a description:

Do you have great ideas but need to know how to turn your thoughts into a composition? Learn seven ways to expand craft and creativity to create compelling music. These tools can help produce work that takes risks, develops material, and engages the audience. Together, we will expand the space between our ears to complete unfinished works or refine existing catastrophes.

There will be two workshops. The first workshop introduces seven ways to approach creating a musical performance. In between the two workshops, students will use these tools to develop musical material. In the second workshop, four to five participants will share their developed material.

In preparation for the first workshop, I've asked participants to come with:
  1. A list of 20 ways music is used. For example one way would be wedding music.
  2. A list of 20 audience types. For example one type would be farmers.
  3. One musical idea you are working on, with, around, or in. The idea should be on paper and can be drawings, words, musical notation, or a combination of any/all of the above.
Seven Ways to Develop Material will cover the following:
  1. Function What and who is the music for?
  2. Concept How does the work access imagination?
  3. Structure Does the form promote the concept?
  4. Time Where does the performance take the audience?
  5. Timbre When do in/significant moments happen?
  6. Filter How does the music breathe?
  7. Notation How can the work be remembered/documented most effectively?

Unclogging Gutters

As I clear autumn leaves from clogging the sewer drain outside my home, I am reminded of all the music-making that needs to happen in preparation for Three Seasons to premiere at On the Boards in mid-January 2010:
  • Finish my musical analysis of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
  • Meet with Stuart McLeod to figure out an amplified percussion set-up that can appear and disappear seamlessly with the dance
  • Touch base with choreographer Olivier Wevers
Even though it is much more fun to gather leaves in the rain and hang out with the chickens, I know that once I start transferring my sketches and connecting with collaborators, my figurative clogged gutter will flow with musical creativity.

Tristan Uhl recently wrote about the Whim W'him launch where a Three Seasons musical sketch presented:
For Whim W’Him’s debut production Olivier has chosen to address not only the unpredictability and fragility of our lives but also, the changing of the seasons. The title for the debut is Three Seasons — an apt beginning for a project that thrives on unpredictability.

The piece has been scored Composer Byron Au Yong, who has created a profoundly moving and modern interpretation of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The musical instruments used almost confront nature with man by melding sounds including but not limited to, a violin, the rhythmic rustling of leaves and — my favorite — a high heel. The overall effect makes it hard to distinguish the traditional instruments from the more novel ones. has the full article plus photos. Thanks for the nice write-up. High heels are my new favorite instrument too.

Dedicated to intercultural collaboration, Byron Au Yong composes songs of dislocation, music for a changing world. He teaches in Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco.

Byron Au Yong & Christopher Yohmei Blasdel: BreathPlay

Byron Au Yong: Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
Kidnapping Water:
Bottled Operas
Byron Au Yong: Yiju