Originally written for (string) quartet with percussion instruments, R[o/u]LE(s) was commissioned by the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and was premiered by the Montréal-based Bozzini Quartet on September 8th, 2016 at TivoliVredenburg’s Hertz Hall in Utrecht, the Netherlands. In March 2017, the JACK Quartet will bring its new form to life with their dazzling skill and artistry. This time, R[o/u]LE(s) will be expanded through the use of Ambisonic technology (surround sound system) in order to create a more intimate, immersive experience, resulting in R[o/u]LE(s) II. The project of live recording/performance of R[o/u]LE(s) II is expected to take place at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City.
– About the work
Written for (string) quartet with percussion instruments, the very first idea of R[o/u]LE(s) is to look into an issue that I have been interested in since leaving my home country: Taiwanese identity. Over the period of several hundred years, Taiwanese identity has constantly shifted/reshaped because of its historical background and external impacts. To some extent, people on that island have always been told to be “who they are” or “whom they should be,” even though lately there are voices that articulate the necessity of discovering/creating/redetermining the real meaning of being Taiwanese. This phenomenon inspires me to bring in non-string instruments/objects into a string quartet, which, rather than solely being a means to colorize the ensemble, emphasizes on the intersection between how the performers control their own instruments and how they approach to the assigned ones.
This piece was commissioned by the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and was premiered by the Quatuor Bozzini during the festival on September 8th, 2016 at Hertz Hall, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht NL. The percussion instruments are purposely placed into a string quartet as a way to reveal the difficulty of possessing the identity of Taiwanese and LGBTQ in the 21st century, which is embodied not only through the string players’ struggle to “play the percussion instruments correctly” but also via noise of overpressure/distortion in the strings.
Commissioned and premiered by the Nieuw Ensemble, “…toward anatman” explores the emotional and psychological reactions that the composer experienced during a particular difficult time of his, attempting to transfigure these into music in hopes of manifesting the spiritual journey that leads to the realization of “anatman,” a Sanskrit word with the meaning of “no-self.” The premiere of “…toward anatman” took place on April 2nd, 2016 at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.
Start and End Dates
03/19/2017 — 03/31/2017
New York City, New York