Hong Kong, xx November, 2015 : Run by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, an organization that strives to produce contemporary music of the highest professional standard in Hong Kong, The Modern Academy (www.themodernacademy.org) is back for a new season this January. Since its first edition in 2014, over 100 young professionals and advanced music students from 17 countries have joined the unique and Asia’s foremost music training programme offered by the Academy and participated in various types of innovative presentations and concerts, including initiating their own collaborations.
Once again, musicians from top institutions and conservatories from all over the world will come to Hong Kong to offer courses on compositional craft, transdisciplinary collaborative projects and performance of contemporary classical music.
The 2016 Short Course Module I features a five-day course on writing and performing for a quartet of two pianists and two percussionists. This unusual combination brings the percussionists to the foreground for the first time, changing the dynamic of traditional music.
Conducted by New York City-based ensemble Yarn/Wire and members of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, the module will cover ensemble coaching, as well as the drill on contemporary performance practice issues, such as unconventional notation, extended techniques (e.g. prepared piano and inside piano) and use of amplification. Fellow composers are invited to work with and write new pieces for the student groups, which will be rehearsed under the supervision of Yarn/Wire.
“…questioning the boundaries of what music might be.” – The Guardian
“Spellbinding virtuosity. Spare, strange, and very, very new” – Time Out NY
Composed of Ian Antonio and Russell Greenberg (percussion) and Laura Barger and Ning Yu (piano), Yarn/Wire is dedicated to expanding the repertoire written for its instrumentation. They are a groundbreaking group that strives to champion a varied and probing repertoire. Yarn/Wire has appeared at leading festivals throughout the United States and they also run an incubator for new experimental music at Brooklyn’s ISSUE Project Room.
The module will also present two public performances. Yarn/Wire will make their Hong Kong debut on 5 January with an exciting program that includes the Asian premiere of new works by minimalist music grandmaster Steve Reich and iconic spectralist Tristan Murail. On 6 January, members of Hong Kong New Music Ensemble will present excerpts from George Crumb’s Music for a Summer Evening, the world premiere of Tung Lai Shing’s Drones, Soliloquies and Fragments of Lost Time and selected works by composer fellows who were tutored by Academy faculty. Finally, there will be free public seminars by course mentors Tung and Wen Deqing about their respective works.
“We’re very excited to have Yarn/Wire join us this year ,” says Hong Kong New Music Ensemble Founder/Artistic Director William Lane, “We look forward to the ensemble lending their knowledge to our very talented students and seeing their groundbreaking performance live on stage. Also including Tung Lai Shing and Wen Deqing as mentors, The Modern Academy offers a platform for young composers and gives advanced performance students the opportunity to learn from professional artists. I think this year’s course will be the best one yet.”