My essay marking the 40th anniversary year of Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter was published yesterday in Aeon Magazine (with the title Contrapuntal Consciousness). It’s an exploration of math, meaning, minds, and music, featuring ferns and fractals — in other words, lots of alliteration.
Back in New York for some additional work on our upcoming album with the wondrous Aizuri Quartet and equally wondrous pianist Adrienne Kim — and for a few days’ stay at the Berkshire International Film Festival with Yasmin Rai. Here’s a little moment from our recording session back in December: with cellist Karen Ouzounian, violinists Miho Saegusa and Ariana Kim, violist Ayane Kozasa, and in the back, myself, Adrienne, and recording engineer/producer/wizard Silas Brown.
Sai Kung is my hometown here in Hong Kong, and my favorite neighborhood in the world. It has been great fun to be part of getting this new project, Sai Kung Sound Collective, or Sasco, off the ground as its first Composer-in-Residence, with Artistic Director, baritone Isaac Droscha, composer Galison Lau, the wonderful people at our partner institution, the Hong Kong Academy, and many others. I’ve had a chance to brush up on my continuo playing skills with flutist Tete Bae, and work on a performance of Hum and Drum with Richard Bamping, solo cellist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and pianist Natalia Tokar, one of Sasco’s founding members. At our first bigger event, last Saturday’s Opening Gala Concert, we also heard violist Born Lau and violinist Patrick Yim play KnickKnacks by our first featured guest composer, George Tsontakis, who introduced us to his work; as well as pianist Yoonie Han and soprano Rebekah AuYeung.
‘From its inception in 1996, MATA has helped launch the careers of dozens of promising young composers. Now the festival starts a new initiative, “MATA Continued,” offering return engagements by some of its brightest discoveries. The series starts with the Finnish composer Ilari Kaila, whose haunting lament “Kellojen Kumarrus” was presented by MATA in 2014; here, the award-winning Aizuri Quartet and the pianist Adrienne Kim reprise that piece along with further works by Kaila.’ — Steve Smith, The New Yorker, 10 Dec 2018
Very happy to share this announcement of a composer portrait concert presented by MATA (Music at the Anthology) on December 17 at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, New York:
M-Prize Winning Aizuri Quartet to Perform Evening of Works by Rising Star Ilari Kaila
New York’s acclaimed “leading showcase for vital new music by emerging composers” (The New Yorker), MATA is excited to announce the first concert of MATA Continued, a new alumni-focused project devoted to giving composers previously presented by MATA the opportunities and tools to make larger artistic statements through longer-form concerts and special projects. MATA Director Todd Tarantino explains, “MATA isn’t just a one-time thing. The third item of our mission statement is to ‘support’ early career composers. For our alumni, in particular, this takes many forms: revisiting their work for our MATA’s Greatest Hits program, fiscal sponsorship of their own projects, invitations to serve on juries and be mentors in our MATA Jr. program, and now, through events like this one.” The inaugural concert will feature the work of Finnish composer Ilari Kaila, whose Kellojen Kumarrus was featured on the 2014 MATA Festival. Through the artistry of the M-Prize winning Aizuri Quartet, alongside special guests flutist Isabel Gleicher and pianist Adrienne Kim, Kellojen Kumarrus will receive a second MATA performance on a program that will showcase the breadth of Kaila’s compositional voice.
Really excited to share this first installment in a series of ten short animated essays that my co-writer Tuomas Kaila and I are currently working on with director Yasmin Rai of File Under Pictures Ltd. (Hong Kong), the Animaatiokopla collective (Finland), and a whole bunch of wonderful artists, musicians, and actors. Tuomas and I are writing both the music and the screenplay for the project, and in this pilot episode, we dissect the in-joke.
On the shores of the beautiful Lake Saimaa in Varkaus, Finland; one of my oldest pieces still (though rarely) performed — Wisteria for string quartet, and Hum and Drum premiered just in November — are on the program here at cellist Markus Hallikainen’s summer music festival. Lots of sauna-ing is also on the program. Below, an arts-and-crafts session, preparing the string quartet parts for a possibly windy outdoor concert.