Programme Notes

    The Nonet for dizi, erhu, sheng, liuqin, pipa, yangqin, guzheng, cello, and percussion, commissioned by the Little Giant Chamber Orchestra, is my sixth work for a large Chinese traditional chamber ensemble. Upon writing this work, I felt my compositional style had gone through another shift, which I create a subtitle for the work, “retro-flexion”. Retroflexion (the British spelling of Retroflection,) is the process of literally bending the body backwards, and is also the process of turning the tip of the tongue back against the palate to aspirate a sound. Both of those meanings are appropriate to some of the compositional processes in this composition. However, I also hyphenate the word “retro-flexion” as a combination of the words “retrospective” and “reflective” in defining my inspirations for the work. The last couple of years, marked by permanent move to Korea from the US, had seen my music become more greatly influenced by both Korean traditional music and European contemporary traditions (such as Spectralism,) as a change from Post-Modernism to more Modernist leanings. However, while I am permanently ingrained by those recent influences, I find myself looking back into my previous work, inspired again by more American traditions. Other than the more obvious allusions in the work, I find myself particularly inspired by the music of Lou Harrison as well as the early works of John Cage. In addition, I am re-inspired by the later works of Stravinsky that were composed after he resided in the USA.