Welcome! Please begin with platforms and proceed in descending order. I have indicated suggested listening sections marked with a start time, measure number, and page number. I have also included two pieces as additional examples at the bottom of the page. Thank you for listening.
1. PLATFORMS | string quartet
2. LIMBIC RESONANCE | large chamber ensemble (fl.cl.bcl.2perc.pno.vln.vla.vnc.db)
3. NOW FROM NOW | mixed sextet (cl.egtr.pno.perc.vnc.db)
Additional Listening (bottom of page)
4. BLOSSOM & FURL | 2 antiphonal electric guitars
5. BEGHILOLIA | full orchestra
So many late evenings of mine have been spent on subway platforms, desperately waiting for a local train to take me home. It only took a few months of being a New Yorker to become desensitized to the constant motion and noise of subway stations (and almost every corner of New York, for that matter), but I could never escape the anxiousness of being on a platform where nearly nothing was happening; when there was no train coming or going, not another person in sight, and nothing to give me any tangible perception of time.
Perhaps enough of these occasions led me to create this piece; where the tension is not derived from any sort of overstimulation, but rather not enough.
PDF score available here.
1. 0:00 (beginning) | measure 1 | score page 1
2. 2:27 | measure 40 | score page 11
Limbic resonance can be described as “a symphony of mutual and internal adaptation.” The premise that humans will subconsciously synchronize with others closest to them is explored quite literally here, as musicians gradually move out of hocket to new mechanisms within their instrument families, and then ultimately create uniformity across the ensemble. Each section of this piece is modeled after one facet of a sound amplitude envelope, or ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) and altogether displays a transition from non-pitched sound to wholly sympathetic vibration.
This piece was written for and premiered by the NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble.
PDF score available here.
1. 0:30 | measure 21 | score page 2
2. 4:09 | measure 185 | score page 17
now from now
The title, Now from Now, alludes to a syntactical glitch; the idea that time is both linear and cyclical, that ideas are malleable, and that patterns can recur and collapse. With this piece I imagined a roomful of turntables playing the same sounds at different speeds, sometimes pulling apart and at other times, coming together.
PDF score available here.
3:32 | measure 85 | score page 9
Statement of academic purpose
I am a composer currently based in Tampa, FL. I am also a bassoonist, educator, curator, photographer, and lover of food – all of which I firmly believe give me multiple creative vantage points as a composer. I currently serve as co-artistic director of Terroir New Music, curating concerts of contemporary music in collaboration with local restaurants and breweries. I am also a founding member of Kinds of Kings, an all-female composer collective that regularly produces concerts across the country and intends to foster a more inclusive music community. Additionally, I am an adjunct instructor at the University of South Florida, where I teach Aural Theory and the Young Composers Program. The synthesis of my interests and experiences, and the sheer duality – or plurality - of my personal identity is central to my compositional output.
Music is the way in which I make sense of the world. I often find the mundane aspects of life, such as an abstract concept, a scientific process, or an interesting word, as an impetus for a project more so than pitches or rhythms, and see each piece as a unique world to build and live in. I approach the way I compose as an extension of my personal expression, and continually search for tangible, audible ways in which I can write music that reflects this. In limbic resonance, I explored this psychological experience by modeling the form of the piece after a sound amplitude envelope (ADSR), and orchestrated a gradual transition from unpitched sounds (beginning with all performers clapping) to elongated sonorities over a simultaneously disjunct and repetitive rhythmic structure. In now from now, I based the piece on the idea of a syntactical glitch, which I akin to a roomful of turntables playing the same record at different speeds, with small fragments of music contracting, elongating, and collapsing.
What were once two great points of shame in my youth – being a mixed-race child born to a Chinese immigrant parent, and being immersed in the restaurant culture from my family’s business – I have only recently been able to distill and affirm as central tenants of my creative and compositional philosophy. The former, I choose to convey musically as duality, plurality, ambiguity, juxtaposition, and transience/impermanence. While many composers cite evoking a “sense of place” as a compositional goal, I more often find myself embracing a lack of place as the place itself, employing continuous forms, constant states of transition and development, and blurred textures and harmonic material. In platforms, I juxtaposed the vibrancy of natural harmonic trills on open strings with undulating quarter-tone canons, as well as derived tension from stasis/overstimulation rather than motion. In blossom & furl, I wrote for two antiphonally placed guitars that phase in and out of consonance with each other by developing harmonically at push-and-pull rates, in part to create acoustic phenomena (such as overtones) and cognitive dissonance.
The latter, I have manifested in my strong desire to build and maintain a creative space in my immediate community, to honor the nature and culture around me, and to be an active participant in all aspects of music-making. I continually return to the concept of terroir - the complete natural environment that gives each crop its unique characteristics - and I use this an approach to all of my artistic work. I seek to write music that is a culmination of meaningful collaboration between myself and the performer(s); at the mechanical level, I write for each instrument/performer by exploring all of their unique sonic capabilities but at the metaphorical, I intend to write music with authentic voice. In 2017, I founded Terroir New Music to not only combine my two worlds of music and food service, but to also introduce the first contemporary music series in Tampa. Terroir has provided new opportunities for local composers and performers, introduced new-music to previously untapped audiences, and fostered dialogue with creatives in the immediate area: chefs, brewers, and other artisans. Terroir curates a program of music written by living composers alongside local food and drink, and in the past year and a half has produced 7 unique concert/events and fundraised exclusively from grassroots efforts.
I graduated from New York University with a Master of Music degree in the spring of 2016, having studied with Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon. During my time at NYU, I had the honors of writing platforms for the JACK Quartet, being awarded a Graduate Professional Development Grant, and receiving a commission to write beghilolia for the NYU Symphony Orchestra, which was premiered at Symphony Space. In fall of 2016, I was fortunate to be offered an adjunct teaching position at my previous alma mater, the University of South Florida, and have maintained this position since then. At USF, I teach the full Aural Theory course sequence (I-IV) in addition to the Young Composers Program to high school students of all skill levels. In recent years I have also received several awards and honors, such as an ASCAP Plus Award, being named an ASCAP Morton Gould Finalist, and attending the 2017 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival. I continue to maintain an active composing schedule and have my works performed throughout the US, in part as a member of Kinds of Kings composer collective, with recent/upcoming performances by ZAFA Collective, Metropolis Ensemble, and members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as the season finale for their Pulitzer Foundation Series.
I firmly believe that Princeton is the only place where I could continue studying composition, due to the unconventional curriculum and the diverse yet inclusive community of musicians that it gathers. I believe that a self-directed environment such as this would allow me to thrive, and pursuing a doctorate at Princeton would provide the time, space, and resources for me to fully immerse myself in composing – something that I have never felt able to do, even during previous degrees. I am delighted by the prospect of being able to interact with a body of peers and mentors again, and by the ability to study with all faculty members. I’m notably interested in learning from Donnacha Dennehy and Steve Mackey because I greatly admire the harmonically rich, rhythmically complex, and texturally inventive music that they create. I am also excited by the opportunity for collaboration and experimentation with the Princeton Sound Kitchen concert series and at the Lewis Center for the Arts, and to further pursue electronic music at the Woolworth Center facilities and through the Princeton Laptop Orchestra.
I would be honored to be included in the forward-thinking environment of the doctoral program and integrate myself both at the university and in the larger Princeton community. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Terroir new music
I created Terroir New Music in 2017 with my partner and fellow composer, Tyler Kline, to create a unique musical and dining experience, as well as cultivate a community around local food, beverage, and music by presenting new music in collaboration with local bars, breweries, and restaurants. To date, we have produced more than 7 unique events that consistently draw in audiences completely unfamiliar with new concert music.
The word “terroir” (ter-wahr) is defined as the complete natural environment that a particular food or drink is produced within, consisting of factors such as the soil, climate, and topography. These environmental factors are what influence the unique taste of a particular crop, so we find it fitting to use this word as inspiration for an event series that draws parallels between the environmental influences and tastes of food/beverage and new music.
To find out more about our series, please click on any of the images below or visit terroirnewmusic.org.
I am honored to be in a collective with 5 other amazing composers, and we all happen to be female. We are dedicated to lifting up each other and all underrepresented composers, and intend to take tangible steps toward a more inclusive musical community. Recent and upcoming concerts include collaborations with Metropolis Ensemble and Desdemona in New York, NY, ZAFA Collective in Chicago, IL, and the St. Louis Symphony in St. Louis, MO.
To find out more about us, our music, and our concerts, please click on any of the images below or visit kindsofkings.com.
blossom & furl
For this piece I drew upon inspiration from time lapses of flowers; long, slow, and organic unfolding, or blossoming, of both musical material and use of the instruments. Each guitar begins playing only on the G string (one of the middle strings), and gradually incorporates neighboring strings until the full range of the instrument is used, then disassembles in a similar fashion. Blossom and furl also explores the cognitive dissonance that the listener experiences from antiphonal placement and the different rates of development and deconstruction that happens between the two parts.
PDF score available here.
1. 1:32 | measure 33 | score page 4
2. 7:35 | measure 169 | score page 8
The title beghilolia is derived from the word "beghilos", which is the unintentional alphabet of available letters found on a calculator when turned upside down. I began this piece with the aesthetic properties of symmetry, architecture, and fluidity in mind, devising the central chord of the piece to have the same intervallic structure above and below the middle note. Unintentionally, the pitches of the chord could be explained diatonically by a major scale. Rather than fight these inherent pitch/harmonic properties one way or another, I simply let these eight pitch classes serve as a parameter in which I could explore other facets of the music: color, texture, contour, spatialization, and acoustic phenomena.
PDF score available here.
4:55 | measure 96 | score page 22