This is a series of Etudes that use experimental methods to seek out innovative instrumental techniques. While addressing my artistic strategies, I practice composer-performer collaboration and notation strategies in ways not distant from the phenomenon I learned from years-long field studies to the indigenous musical culture where art embraces human activities and ecological systems as well as spiritual experiences as a whole. In this context, musical activities involving multiple individuals rely upon ecological conditions spatially and geologically and psychologically. In my work, I aim to explore and embrace musicians’ individualities. I explore individual performer’s kinetic capabilities as well as their perspectives of their instruments through collaboration. It often involved exploring and defining the thresholds of how an instrument is played and functions in conventional practice. With this knowledge, I produce music around the thresholds between what musicians and their instruments already can do and what they cannot.
Viewing performers' kinetic capabilities, and also their psychological thresholds at the edge of their bodily and mental ecologies, my compositions keep questioning the limits of that edge. My notated score heuristically encourages the performers into a space of self-exploration. They then can observe, experience, and finally break their previous limits. Therefore, the sonic results of my works do not purely rely on what's in the score but organically arise from such behind-the-scene activities as when performers constantly engage with the score in the intimacy of their practice space. The sonic outcomes also rely on conversations between the performers and composer in individual meetings and also rehearsal circumstances.
While composing the piece, I intentionally generated paradoxes between different parameters and defined an open space for the performers to resolve such issues. Those paradoxes often become the core issues we must encounter in our meetings and rehearsals. The fundamental dilemmas of those paradoxes include the exact amount of effort one can expend upon the attempt to achieve a challenging limit. While composing the last etude, I document the process of using the above mentioned concepts and approaches with the camera. Conversations, arguments made during the rehearsals, discussions in the recording processes and other collaborative details will be documented as part of the composition. I wish that a documentary combining both audio and video will supplement the score towards the end. I will also call attention to various questions and attempt to reset the function and weight of traditional Western musical notation. As discussed above, the importance of the behind-the-scene factors related to one's kinetic and psychic ecology is addressed and considered as part of the score. By emphasizing corporeality and empathy, I will try to create music that organically represents all the individuals involved in its conception.
This approach keeps growing to the most recent work for audiovisual fixed media and live violin solo, composed for violinist Ilana Waniuk
on going etude: