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Faculty of College of Liberal Arts First gets together in interdisciplinary collaboration for 2020 Modern Composers’ Live Performance and Discussion

(Provided by College of Liberal Arts) The Department of Music and the College of Liberal Arts organized the XVI Glimmer End: 2020 Modern Composers’ Live Performance and Discussion. This year, for the first time, the Department of Music engaged in an interdisciplinary dialogue with the faculty of the Department of Chinese Literature, the Department of Theater Arts, and the Institute of Philosophy, bringing new ideas to the composition process and performance technique.


Modern Composers’ Live Performance and Discussion has already 16 years of tradition; it was first started by the faculty of the Department of Music in 2005 to exhibit their work. Director of the Institute of Philosophy Wan-I Yang wrote the curatorial note of Glimmer End and discussed the event creation with Associate Professor Szu-Hsien Lee, Professor Kwang-I Ying, and Assistant Professor Sheng-Xian Liu of the Department of Music. Associate Professor Yi-Cherng Lin of the Department of Theater Arts, after debating with the three composers, led the students of the Department to participate in the lighting and stage design for the concert. Associate Professor of the Department of Chinese Literature Chia-Lun Tu, contributed with her expertise in literature and language to enter into a dialogue with the composers during the concert.


What new can be created with the ray of philosophical thought illuminating composers’ creation concept? Lee composed “In Between the Clouds and the Water”, and “The Water, the Clouds” – an opening and closing theme of the concert that conveys a sensation of déjà vu. Inspired by two works by photographer Shang Chen, Ying tried to explore people’s pursuance of happiness in her composition "Searching for the Light”. Liu developed four musical themes from four words in “At the Twilight Hour”, a poem by Yu Kwang-Chung, to explore the concepts of time and existence.


This year’s edition of the Modern Composers’ Live Performance and Discussion did not take place in the Music Auditorium of the Fine Arts Building but in a little theater on the basement first floor of Kaohsiung Public Library. Lin, as the technical manager, pointed out that the lighting and stage design were to connect the music with light; Tu responded saying that she was struck by the immense darkness of the theatre the first time when she came and this made her look forward to seeing the lights and shadows dancing on the stage.


The first piece of the concert – “In Between the Clouds and the Water”, composed by Lee, was played by guqin performer Chin-Hui Huang, who intertwined different tunings of the instrument and entered into dialogue with pre-recorded piece played on guqin. Lee said that Director Yang’s curatorial note included a wise admonition: “No man ever steps in the same river twice” and this is why she chose five different musical pieces for guqin connected with water, she listened to them carefully and recomposed the music, locating similar fragments in various places of the concert script, making the repetition unnoticeable, especially with the particular music notation and performance techniques for guqin. This was also a response to the curatorial note, pointing out that “innumerable experiences in everyone’s life are unique and irreproducible”. Tu said that Lee’s work broke the tread composition principle in literature to express spiral-like repetitiveness.


Having learned that the concert would take place in the small theatre of Kaohsiung Public Library, Ying chose to use the 5.1 surround sound for “Searching for the Light”. During the performance, two works by Shang Chen related to light, refocused and resized, complemented the music performance. One of the photographs depicted a little girl running into a dark room from a well-lit door; the work corresponded with the concept described in the curatorial note. Having listened to “Searching for the Light”, Tu said that the music and the images conveyed the message that paradoxically, the light is most visible from inside, from a certain distance.


The last piece was “At the twilight hour”, performed by Sheng-Xian Liu. The four music themes in this piece represent 4 words taken from Yu Kwang-Chung’s poem: ‘evening’, ‘sunlight’, ‘dike’, and ‘lonely freighter’. Liu said that this melody brings back the nostalgic feeling as he recalls the times he spent together with a late colleague of the same Department from Japan, with whom he used to watch the sunset in the Fine Arts Building after classes and talk. Yang said that the melody made her recall the times when her father would take her on his motorcycle to see the sunset. Tu said that the musical theme referring to the dusk in “At the Twilight Hour” made her feel the magic of this particular time of the day and brought back many childhood memories to her mind.


There were no empty seats in the theatre hall and the audience could not resist the philosophical feeling of the music. Ping-You Tsai, a second-year student of the Department of Information Management, said that the dark stage made him look forward to the music; he felt most captivated and emotional about “In Between the Clouds and the Water”, featuring pure, lonely but carefree and unrestrained sound of guqin. The XVI Glimmer End: 2020 Modern Composers’ Live Performance and Discussion let the community of the teachers of the College of Liberal Arts create a symphony of past experiences, interdisciplinary exchange, literature, philosophy, theatre, and music for a deeper and more interdisciplinary artistic experience of the audience of students and teachers.

(Edited by Public Affairs Division)


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