26 Nov 2023

Asian Composers League: Ahiahi - Justin DeHart & Mark Menzies

From Music Alive, 9:00 pm on 26 November 2023

Listen to percussionist Justin DeHart and violist Mark Menzies perform innovative works by composers from Slovenia, Aotearoa and South Korea.

Sunset seen from a New Zealand beach.

Sunset seen from a New Zealand beach. Photo: James Gardner

This Asian Composer’s League concert is entitled Ahiahi, te reo Māori for 'evening'. The performers are world-reknowned violist Mark Menzies; and Grammy-nominated percussionist Justin DeHart, who’s originally from California and is still also a current member of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet.

Menzies and DeHart perform works by composers from Slovenia, New Zealand and South Korea.

Nenad Firšt: Jezero

Nenad First

Nenad First Photo: Supplied

Nenad Firšt has received various prizes and recognitions, including the highest Slovenian national cultural prize – the Prešeren Fund Prize in 2009. And since 2010 he’s been the President of the Society of Slovene Composers.

His work is Jezero, named after Lake Jezero, Slovenia’s largest high mountain lake. It was inspired by the composer’s reflections and experiences there.

He writes: “I’ve always had intense feelings towards the primal force of water in nature; the lakes, especially, address me with their special energy. They’re idyllic and usually very calm, sometimes excited for no reason, but always mysterious.”

The piece is for solo viola.

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Marcus Jackson: All I Fear Is Death Before Fame

Marcus Jackson

Marcus Jackson Photo: Supplied

Pōneke/Wellington-based composer Marcus Jackson  creates work that interrogates the links between physical gesture and sound production, often with uncanny results. His musical training was geared towards contemporary classical music, creative technology, and ethnomusicology. His works also often have an auto-biographical skew.

All I Fear Is Death Before Fame is a 2020 composition created as an ACL Prize commission, It uses pre-recorded music with spoken word by the viola and percussion players.

The only clue the composer has provided as to what the work is about is this question: What happens to a body when it is taken out of its personal context?

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Youngkwang Yang: nox serena

Youngkwang Yang

Youngkwang Yang Photo: Supplied

South Korean composer Youngkwang Yang studied composition at Kyungwon University in Seoul, before completing a Masters at Mozarteum University in Salzburg, where at the time of this concert he was a doctoral student.

His solo viola work, nox serena - Latin for ‘serene night’ - was composed in 2018, inspired by listening to the sounds of rain and wind late one night. The composer says that he wanted to express emotions that made him feel calm during that experience. The piece is written in seven parts which express the sounds of the rain and shapes of the wind.

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Young-Eun Paik: back to dust...

Young-Eun Paik

Young-Eun Paik Photo: Supplied

South Korean composer, Young-Eun Paik is a Professor of Composition in the College of Music, Dankook University in Seoul. She has served as the president of Asian Composers League, Korea. And her compositions have appeared in numerous music festivals and composition recitals throughout the world.

Her work back to dust... for viola and percussion reflects on the impermanence of our existence and the notion of humankind, returning, eventually, to dust.

She says: “This piece is dedicated to my father who passed away in 2009 and I revised it in 2019 for his tenth memorial year. The melodies and harmonies in this piece are derived from a single six-note theme. The viola line is intended to symbolize the human subject while the different percussion timbres express the narrative.”

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

Producer / Engineer: Darryl Stack

Technical assistant: Alex Harmer

Music Alive / Sound Lounge producer: Ryan Smith

Recorded at the Great Hall, Arts Centre, Christchurch.

The 2022 Asian Composer’s League Festival took place in Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

This Festival is held in a different country in the Asia-Pacific region every one to two years, and features music by innovative Asia-Pacific composers, written predominantly in the last decade, performed by many of New Zealand’s top performers and ensembles. 2022 was Aotearoa’s turn to host the festival again, and it was held in conjunction with the ISCM World New Music Days Festival, the first time this international festival has been held here.

First broadcast in Sound Lounge on RNZ Concert.