Two days ago was a huge milestone that I walked over; I graduated from Michigan State University! I am now an MSU Alumnus, though I will return to MSU for studying Masters of Music Composition under Dr. Ricardo Lorenz. I am looking forward to the new chapter that awaits me at the end of August!

Now, Compositions!

I am very close to finishing Concert Etudes #1 for solo piano, which  is a set of six etudes that represents a certain motive. Each etude plays with a motivic idea and tries to expand it based on the properties represented by ONLY the initial motive.

For instance: Etude I. involves two pitches: G# and A; an interval of a minor 2nd. Etude II. focuses on the E Major/Dominant 7th chord. Etude III. is a battle between Bb Major and Bb minor. Etude IV. is based on three pitches: E,F,G. Etude V. is based on five pitches and the dotted eighth sixteenth rhythm, and finally Etude VI. focuses on the control of the pedal. In addition, I was inspired by John Corigliano’s Etude Fantasy when writing Etude VI.

The second piece I’ve been working on during the semester is a trio for flute (doubles on piccolo), clarinet (doubles on bass clarinet), and cello. I’m currently working on the 2nd movement of this piece. The first movement focuses within the treble clef range where all three instruments can feature different timbres while phasing out from one another.

Shortly after a successful performance of the Concerto for Saxophone, I’ve began the process of orchestrating the piano accompaniment for wind ensemble (2,2,Eb,3,Bass, no saxophones, 2,4,3,1,1, double bass, percussion (the instrumentation is not official at this time)). I will let you know later how this project is going.

My goal for this summer is to write a piece for voice and piano. All I have written so far were works for instrumental music and to begin writing a piece for voice is quite scary. Despite this project sounding a bit difficult, I am looking forward to the challenge and I will let you know how this project is going.
Have a great summer! (if not, have a great week!)

During the fall semester of 2010, I learned something that has grab my interest for quite sometime. I took MUS 422 20th century European and American Music Literature which was taught by Dr. Ricardo Lorenz, Associate Professor of Composition. One of the last and perhaps the most crucial topics in the class was the comparison and trend between modernism and postmodernism.

Modernism had been experimented from the end of World War I to the 1960s. During that time, the composer’s goal was to compose music by experimenting with pitches, rhythms, timbres, colors, shapes, textures, etc. Art became highly elitist as well as the concept of abandoning the past and embrace a better future.

Postmodernisn occurred when Modernism became the entrenched norm in artistic, intellectual and academic circles. Modernism is seen as the Status Quo; DEAD. Postmodernism is a look back to former rejected traditions seems inevitable. Along with a reevaluation of tradition comes a reevaluation of art’s expressive potential. The art object is valued for its semantic potential to provide commentary and critique. Art is re-contextualized and becomes highly manneristic and populist.

Postmodernism gets very complicated since it can be categorized into two sub-categories: reaction postmodernism and resistance postmodernism.

Reaction postmodernism is where the composers completely abandons the techniques of modernism and brings back the traditional history. Ex: Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland? Resistance postmodernism is where the composers faces the techniques of modernism head on and critiques the traditional/modernism. Ex: Frank Zappa, Fredric Rzewski, John Corigliano, and Luciano Berio.

The problem in our society today, is although postmodernism is occurring as of now, we really do not know where music is heading. It’s a mysterious question that will be answered through time. If anything, this topic helped me find out my form of writing: resistance postmodernism. In today’s society, it is impossible to say you write romanticism music, since that music started and ended in the 19th century, though you COULD say that you incorporate the techniques of romanticism in your piece, but that’s another topic.

My point is that we do not have the privilege to say that our music is classical music, baroque music, romantic music, or modernism. Postmodernism is a very versatile type of music in which numerous compositions fit in that category.