Nature is my sanctuary and source of creative energy; I retreat to it whenever I find myself overwhelmed by stress or questioning my purpose. The grandiose, expansive, and symbolic styles in the music of Rameau, Chopin, and Debussy depict what I see and feel in nature—joy, hope, and love.
I am transported into nature when I play my piano part in Kyong Mee Choi’s, musique concrete composition “Until Heard,” which features raw recordings and electronically produced sounds of nature. My organic senses are revitalized in ways piano acoustics alone have never done.
When I came across Jaroslaw Kapusincski’s audio-visual composition “Side Effect,” I immediately fell in love with its incredible marriage of sound and visual landscape. The music follows ten short videos, each shot 150 meters above ground in Poland by photographer and pilot Kacper Kowalski. The aerial view reveals beautifully how humans and nature can coexist symbiotically and aesthetically.
The feature “Breathmark” track (Goodmesh Concours 2020 Entry Project) explores our collective need to address the climate crisis and social injustice. It was a collaboration between myself, as the pianist and creative director, composer Scott Ordway, animator Qi Lu, and dancer Jada German. After completing this project, I knew there was more to be done.
The reality of the climate crisis today leaves us in a dissonant environment: extreme hurricanes, endangered species, ice sheets melting, accidental, but devastating wildfires. To put together this hour-long musical puzzle, I mixed the standard repertoires of Rameau, Chopin, and Debussy with new contemporary music—an interesting juxtaposition of what nature represented for composers back then and now. The blended tones of classical and contemporary music with other forms of art, express the inexpressible: harmony in this cacophonous world.
My mixed emotions of awe, mystery, dream, trepidation and hope for nature and humanity have been strung together in this multimedia program. It is a deep dive into exploring our unique, magical relationship with the natural world.
I hope my Breathmark album will bring awareness to the climate crisis and social injustices–and inspire change. I believe that the mysterious forces of awe, spirituality, and beauty we feel when we confront nature is a collective experience. The music I present reminds us of our unique relationship with nature.
Let’s nurture it one breath at a time.