A Little Bit About Myself

In the summer of 2015, the Louisville-based Thompson Street Opera Company produced “The Mouse Deer and the Crocodile.”  This was the second production of my first opera.

“A Withering Sunflower with Uneven Legs” is commissioned by the BGSU New Music Ensemble. It was premiered by the ensemble on March 5, 2015 at the Kobacker Recital Hall, conducted by Santiago Pineros Serrano, Chinese flute by Hong-Da Chin.

“Snowflakes” for orchestra won the 47th Annual BGSU Concerto Competition for Competition. It was premiered by the BG Philharmonia conducted by Brady Meyer.

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Folktale recalled and translated by Hong-Da Chin
Story edited by Yvonne Freckmann

Dramatic Personae:
Coloratura Soprano – Liz Hood (Mouse Deer – Sang Kancil)
Mezzo-Soprano – Amy Grams (Bodhi Tree – Narrator)
Baritone – John Mink (Crocodile – Sang Buaya)

Conductor – Santiago Pineros Serrano
Director – Ellen Scholl

Flute/piccolo – Jory King
Clarinet/Bass Clarinet – Meghan Yankowskas
Andrew Bosomworth – Percussion
Alec Norkey – Violin
Josh Williams – Cello
Kevin Bylsma – Piano

Crocodiles:
Joseph Amstutz
Adelle Blauser
Autum Cochran-Jordan
Bailey Maxfull
Luke Serrano

The folktale begins in a tropical forest in Malaysia. A mouse deer, Sang Kancil, has to look for another place to live because where she lives now is out of food. As she walks by the river, she notices a huge fruit-farm at the other side of the river. She also notices the crocodile, Sang Buaya, who floats in the river quietly. In order to get to the other side of the river, the Sang Kancil thinks of a way to line up all of the crocodiles so that the Sang Kancil can walk on them to get across the river and not be eaten. She tells the crocodiles that the Sultan wants to take a census of all of the crocodiles. The greedy crocodiles line up and Sang Kancil successfully gets to the other side of the river peacefully.

The Freya String Quartet premiered my second string quartet “…the clock is ticking…” The idea of the piece comes from how fast time flies without us realizing it.

“Snowflake” for dancer and piano trio was premiered at Charlotte New Music Festival 2013 at Levine Properties. It’s a collaboration with dancer Caroline Calouche, a Charlotte based dancer.

“Poem Recitation” was performed the second time at Petra’s Piano Bar in Charlotte during the Charlotte New Music Festival 2013.

This performance by the Genevan Trio was recorded at University of Nebraska – Lincoln during Chamber Music Institute 2013.

“Rhythmic Storytelling,” on which this trio is based, is a form of art in China where a story is told to clapper accompaniment. The storytellers have an assistant with two wooden pieces, which he hits together rhythmically. The violin and cello are the storytellers and the piano acts as clapper. Further emulating the sound and tones of the storytelling, the the strings have heavily-slided glissando passages that are the imitation of the four tones – level (flat), rising (up), going (down and up), and entering (down) – of Mandarin Chinese.

Hong-Da Chin, “Paradise of Birds”
Winner of Dolce Suono Ensemble’s Young Composers Competition 2013

Dolce Suono Ensemble
Sarah Shafer, soprano
Mimi Stillman, flute/piccolo
Natalie Zhu, piano

Dolce Suono Ensemble Presents
“Debussy as Painter of Song”
Field Concert Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia
May 19, 2013

“Premonition” for full orchestra was read by the University of Louisville Orchestra during Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Conducting and Composition Workshop.

“Fable” for 16 musicians was premiered by Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, conducted by Szymon Bywalec at Brand New Music Festival 2012 at Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland.

“Poem Recitation” for G dadi (Big G-key Chinese flute). Premiered by Hong-Da Chin at the Cathedral of St. Luke & St. Paul during the Spoleto Festival USA 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina.

The piece was performed by a very talented soprano, Debbie Hill and me, at Comstock Concert Hall, University of Louisville on 3/7/2012.

Program Note:
The song is inspired by a poem titled Bird-songs by George MacDonald. Soprano, flute and
piccolo have always been associated with birds, and I took advantage of this connection. I
emulated the birdsongs with the flutes and voice by creating a dialogue through music and
poetry. Bird lovers may recognize the transcribed songs of these three birds.

The video above is the premiere of my flute solo, “Conversations between Wind and Water,” by Orlando Cela on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 at Williams College,  Williamstown, MA as part of the I/O Fest 2012.

Mimosa was performed by a very good friend of mine and talented piccolo player, Sheila Victoria Anne at Dudley Recital Hall, University of Houston on 4/22/2012.

Emptiness was performed by virtuoso flutist, Daiske Kino-shita on March 17th, 2012 at SEGI College, Subang Jaya, Malaysia.

Hi! Welcome to my webpage. As the title indicates, I am a composer and flutist.

When I was 11 years old I first learned how to play the Chinese Bamboo Flute before I learned how to play the concert flute. Since the first day I was able to produce a sound from the bamboo flute, I was obsessed with the bright and crystal-like sound of it! So, guess what happened after that? I practiced the Chinese bamboo flute like there is no tomorrow and since then, I created my own world of music (in which I am still obsessed with it).  I would call this musical period of mine as “Introduction to Music.” I often chose studies and orchestral excerpts with high level of difficulty and  technicality as my warm-up exercises to challenge my technique and the dexterity of my fingers. During that period, I thought there was no technical passage that I would not able to master and play up to the tempo (I even made it faster then the tempo for the sake of challenging my skills)!

A year after I started with the Chinese bamboo flute, I was introduced to Mr. Kah-Hoe Yii, a renowned Malaysian composer, Chinese bamboo flutist and one of the most important person that influences my musical life. Although I had been playing Chinese traditional music, I was always curious about western music. Mr. Yii introduced me the western flute and he was willing to teach me both Chinese and western flute. The introduction of western flute was a big change to my life! It was hard at the beginning as I used to read numbered musical notation in Chinese traditional music and now I had to read the staff while practicing the western flute. Due to my consistence and persistence, I finally could sight read a music with efficiency. I started to play a lot of flute solos and one of my favorites was Carmen Fantasy for flute and piano by Francois Borne. I fell in love with it so much that I could memorize the entire piece. Other than playing with the flute, I played it with Chinese bamboo flute too (just to challenge myself :P). There was one day before the rehearsal of the Chinese orchestra in my high school, I played the excerpt of the Carmen Fantasy and Mr. Hee-Chiat Chew, a renowned Malaysian conductor and composer, heard it. He highly recommended me to play it, not with western flute, but with Chinese bamboo flute; not with the flute version, but the violin version of Carmen Fantasy by Sarasate. I agreed with his proposal and was delighted that I could play the arrangement of Carmen Fantasy arranged for Chinese flute.  The performance was a success and a lot of people were surprised with what a Chinese flute could do and I was glad to prove that.

I had been exposed to Classical music too after I picked up flute. Since then, I fell in love with listening to Classical music. The composer that I listened the most to was L. V. Beethoven. I could totally feel his inner feeling just by listening to his music. Immersing to his music had become part of my life. Motivation and encouragement often comes from his music, especially when I am facing difficulties in my life.

So, how did I end up with composing? Well, I was strongly encouraged by Mr. Yii to compose. I had been listening to a lot of Classical music and the desire of writing my own music had become deeper and deeper. The realization of writing music finally happened in 2006 when I was officially taking composition lesson with Mr. Yii. Writing music has since become my part of my life and it has brought me to the other side of the world (I’m currently studying in the States).

To me, composing is the same as giving birth to a new child. Thus, me, as the father of my compositions is obliged to make them sound how they meant to be sounded. Writing music is a good way to express your feeling and thought to the audience. Being able to have my pieces performed has been my ultimate goal in my composing career.

Through the website, I hope I could MAKE MYSELF HEARD!

My pic at Spoleto Pit by Khai

Picture taken by AikKhai Pung at Spoleto Festival USA 2012