Back in April, I sat down with Redshift Music Society artistic director Jordan Nobles and discussed the possibility of putting out an international Call for Scores for solo flute. I think, living and working as a musician on the West Coast of Canada, it’s easy to become focused almost exclusively on those composers immediately around you (and easier still because so many of them are truly excellent). I was fascinated by the idea that there were any number of good composers out there who I knew absolutely nothing about — whether because of language, culture, geography… or simply because we all get busy and the world is a bloody enormous place.
For this particular Call for Scores, we decided to take it one step further: we asked for pieces by composers who live (or who have lived) in countries bordering the Pacific Rim. This might initially seem like a random stipulation, but lately I’ve been thinking more and more about the Eurocentricity of Western Classical Music and how this might be changing, particularly in our international Age of Instant Information. My practice as a musician is undeniably informed by its Western European roots, yet I myself am anything but Western European: I’m half-Japanese, half-Australian, born and raised on the West Coast of Canada. Does this change or inform my relationship with Western music? How do other non-European musicians and artists address the bridge/divide, if at all? Limiting submissions to the Pacific Rim, I felt, might produce results that were, at the very least, different than a simple international Call for Scores; but my hope was that it might provide some insight into how non-European artists view their relationship with Europe, with their homeland, and how this may or may not reflect itself in their craft — but what I wasn’t expecting was the sheer volume of submissions.
By the time August 31st rolled around, we had received just under 200 submissions from around the world. The idea of picking five or six for a single concert seemed outrageous, especially given the calibre and diversity of what was submitted. Fortunately, Jordan was gracious enough to suggest that, instead of a single concert, I could present three different concerts over the course of 2017, each featuring different submitted repertoire — increasing the number of presented works to seventeen (even still, there’s over a dozen excellent works that there simply wasn’t room to program). The selected composers/works are as follows, listed in alphabetical order:
Pedro Alvarez (Chile/Australia) – De Mares Imaginados
Phil Brownlee (New Zealand) – Harakeke
Eunho Chang (South Korea/Poland) – Sanjo III
Nirmali Fenn (Sri Lanka/Australia/Singapore) – Scratches of the Wind
Graham Flett (Canada) – Stratus and Shale
Robert Hansler (USA) – Broken Branch
Gleb Kanasevich (USA) – DUDK*=*FLÖT
Kaiyi Kao (Taiwan) – Jingzhe
Hope Lee (Canada) – forever after
Ellen Lindquist (USA) – Nakoda for solo alto flute
Mario Mora (Chile) – DOO
Rosalind Page (Australia) – courbe dominante
Maggi Payne (USA) – Reflections
Nova Pon (Canada) – Wrenegade
Thierry Tidrow (Canada) – Né à L’envers
Chun-Ju Yen (Taiwan) – Invisible Wings
Stephen Yip (Hong Kong/USA) – A Spring Morning
Because the number of concerts has increased from one to three, we’ve yet to nail down exact dates and locations. My personal feeling is that I would like the concert venues to reflect the Pacific Rim theme — forthcoming discussions with the folks at Redshift will reveal more very soon. Until then, my sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to submit their works. I can’t wait to begin this very exciting project.