Decoding Creativity: Interactive Platform for Contemporary Music Appreciation

Hong Kong Composers' Guild Limited

Decoding Creativity: Interactive Platform for Contemporary Music Appreciation

The project features 17 original compositions in a series of live streaming of 6 appreciation workshops – one devoted to solo instruments and the remaining for duets. Through sharing originally composed music with the audience, the project aims to offer comfort and resilience through the beauty of music, promote positive thinking in the face of the COVID-19, and to inspire audience to look forward to the future ahead.

Hong Kong Composers’ Guild Limited

Founded in 1983, the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild (HKCG) is a professional association of serious composers with objectives to promote and cultivate music composition in Hong Kong. HKCG works closely with professional musicians and institutions in concert performances, orchestration workshops, field trips, forum, commissions, as well as community services. Apart from organising concerts, publishing scores and producing recordings of works by Hong Kong composers, HKCG also takes an active part in arousing interest in composition especially amongst youths and in developing music as a vital creative art form in Hong Kong. Among its regular activities are the organisation of composition competitions and arrangement of composers to conduct workshops for the community and school students. HKCG is also a National Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. Each year, it partners with RTHK in the selection of a composer representative to attend the International Rostrum of Composers.

New Chamber Compositions Inspired by Life under the Pandemic

Moderated by Drs. Joshua Chan, Lo Hau-man and Ho Sung-chi, the project features 17 original compositions in 6 appreciation workshops streamed online. Each workshop will present new chamber works written for specific combination of instruments, which represent the composers’ creative response to life under the pandemic.

Appreciation Workshop I

Performers: Angus Lee (Flute), Mavis Lam (Pipa)

1. From the Sea by Wong Kong-yu: This is a set of variations based on a twelve-tone row. The tonality drifts between diatonic and chromatic, the pace increases and decreases like tides and the melodic phrases lengthen and shorten as waves.
2. Rock Pipa – FIGHT by Luk Wai-chun: COVID-19 is raging around the world and the virus ambushes on all sides, making everyone live in panic.
3. Barred Autumn by Yeung Hoi-ching, Alice: The title came from A Joyful Rendezvous by Chinese poet Yu Li. Yet, there is not any ‘joy’ that could be found in the poet.

Appreciation Workshop II

Performers: Fung Yat-shan, Linus (Clarinet) and Wong Ka-lap (Cello)

1. Early Spring – Chaozhou Kung Fu Tea by Cheung Pui-shan: The composer was inspired by the traditional Chaozhou Kung Fu tea brewing methods, and enjoyed the fragrance in the cup of music.
2. Boredom and Anxiety in Hong Kong under COVID-19 by Wong Chun-wai: This work is a duet written for clarinet and cello to reflect on the changes in people’s livelihood during the pandemic in Hong Kong.
3. Puss in Mask by Ada Lai: A cat is annoyed by its humans who stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving it with little “personal” space.

Appreciation Workshop III

Performers: Lam Pui-yee, Theresa (Clarinet), Wong Ka-lap (Cello)

1. Paradise of the Lost by Stephen Yip: Creating natural flexibility in the environmental thought and motion is one of the major practices in this piece.
2. Remote Intimacy by Joseph Wong: Under the pandemic, people have gradually adapted to the “new normal” and learnt how to stay connected via different digital platforms.
3. We Are Companion by Chan Ming-chi: This work demonstrates how people support each other and overcome difficulties together under the pandemic, regardless boundaries or national boundaries.

Appreciation Workshop IV

Performers: Chu Wan-pin (Erhu), Chui Mei-ting (Guzheng)

1. White Tara by Kam Shing-hei: In Buddhism, White Tara is known as “the Mother of all Buddhas”. She is also known for counteracting illnesses and eliminating diseases. The music is to portray the holiness and elegance of such deity.
2. Impermanence by Tang Man-ngai: The composition uses various timbres, irregular rhythms, and melodies with wide leaps to evoke the unpredictable and intense atmosphere under the pandemic.
3. Narrow View? by Leung Hin-yan, Austin: The composer encourages audiences to be creative during the home isolation period and let one’s imagination extend infinitely!

Appreciation Workshop V

Performers: Mak Ka-yin (Erhu), Chan Tin-chi, Jenny (Guzheng)

1. Stand in the Cold by Chan Nga-man: In the cold winter, flowers and leaves have fallen, but there are still trees standing in the cold, living in their own way.
2. Palpitations – Season of the Heart by Hippocrates Cheng: Employing the idiosyncratic timbre of Erhu and Guzheng, Palpitations – Season of the Heart depicts our two contrasting sentiments under the pandemic.
3. A Tree of Jade Standing in the Autumn Wind by Pang Kwan: Despite the physical distancing, the composer hopes we can all stay strong and positive amid the pandemic, and to remain hopeful in such difficult times.

Appreciation Workshop VI

Performers: Chan Kai-him (Erhu),Chiu Tan-ching (Guzheng)

1. Aurora Lights by Denise Mei-yan Hofmann: This piece of music is inspired by the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon even scientists cannot fully fathom. The Guzheng and Erhu in the music are as volatile and unpredictable as the Northern Lights, reminding us not to assume we are able to forecast the future.
2. re | DIS connect/ED by Lai Miu-yeung, Israel: 2020 is a year full of changes, uncertainties and loneliness. This song aims to reflect this new era of confinement. Themed on the difficulty of communication, it nevertheless explores the emerging media of online concerts.

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