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New and old in Varkaus

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.

With the quartet in Varkaus

Year-End Composition Class Recital

Spring composition studio concert

Wrapping up the HKUST Music Alive! concert series for this school year, we premiered eight new works by my composition students at last night’s studio recital, alongside instrumental and chamber music students of violist Andrew Ling and pianist Amy Sze. Each piece was performed by the respective composer, with ensembles consisting of HKUST students and friends, plus guest artists Tete Bae (flute) and Ling Chen (violin). My first time ever playing chamber music that includes the guzheng!

Chennai, India

Back from Chennai, my eleventh visit there after a hiatus of a few years, and exactly 15 years after I first started studying Carnatic music at the Brhaddhvani Centre with Professor Karaikudi Subramanian, on a scholarship from the Sibelius Academy. With approximately 100 concerts a day for six weeks, the Madras Music Season in the Tamil month of Maargazhi (December-January) is the biggest music festival in the world. Overwhelming and awesome as always, to be immersed in music, seeing old friends, teachers and colleagues, making plans for next year, and celebrating the centenary of Finland, apparently.

Finland in India Dec 2017

Eight days, eight concerts

Helsyd Piano Trio

Helsyd Piano Trio, en route to Hong Kong and Macau, kicks off their tour here in Helsinki on Sunday, 3 PM, at Klassinen hietsu, with a program featuring some new and old music of mine, followed by a performance of my Cello Concerto at the Temple in the Rock at 6 PM by Markus Hallikainen and the Sipoo Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Tapio von Boehm (also performed in Sipoo on Saturday at 4 PM). Meanwhile, pianist Maija Parko is playing my Toccata at a #Suomi100 concert in Kirkkonummi the same day. It’s straight to the airport with the Helsyds from there, and over to Hong Kong where Eriikka Maalismaa, Timo-Veikko “Tipi” Valve and Emil Holmström will first join forces with the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble and artistic director, violist William Lane, for a joint concert at the Spring Workshop on Thursday at 7 PM (with a repeat performance in Macau the day after). The concert is titled 100 Years of Independent Music — with Finland celebrating its centenary this year, I curated the program to draw parallels between Hong Kong today and our native country a century ago. I’m also very much looking forward to the premiere of Hum and Drum for cello and piano, which Tipi and Emil will perform in the Helsyd Trio recital at the Hong Kong Chamber Music Society on Saturday (7:15 PM), and again on Sunday at my home institution, as part of the HKUST Music Alive! season, at 4 PM. Hope to see you all in one or more of these events!

Composition studio concert

student concert

Getting to play some cool chamber music tomorrow: we are premiering a dozen or so of my composition students’ pieces as part of the HKUST Music Alive! concert series. We’ll be performing alongside the chamber music students of pianist Amy Sze and violist Andrew Ling, and joined by violinist Ling Chen and other assorted HKUST music community members. If you’re in Hong Kong, come hear us at the Cheng Yu Tung auditorium at 7:30 PM!

HKUST Public Humanities Lecture

Palestrina Bach fern

I’ll be giving my second talk as part the HKUST School of Humanities public lecture series today, titled The Recursive Genesis of Bach Counterpoint. I’ll attempt to describe how, underneath the obvious similarities between the music of Bach and his historical predecessors, there’s a more intricate, recursive relationship. The talk — which will include fugues, fractals, and ferns — is at 3 PM, at the Hong Kong Museum of History.

Intimacy of Creativity 2017, second edition

IC 2017, week two

After a week of vocal music in March, the second edition of this year’s Intimacy of Creativity — the IC2017 Chamber Music Festival — began on Monday with artists Zhu Dan, Diemut Poppen, Oliver Triendl, Chad Burrow, the Altius String Quartet, and others performing the works of Guest Composer Marc Satterwhite, Artistic Director Bright Sheng, and four young composer fellows. IC is what brought me to Hong Kong back in 2014, as well, and it’s a pleasure to still be a part of it. Above, a picture from one of our open discussions here on the campus of HKUST.