Case Study: adapting music for amateur choir

A trained soprano approached me recently about adapting a famous Buddhist song, arranged for four-part voice, for a 45-person amateur choir, pianist, cello, and saxophone. Continue reading “Case Study: adapting music for amateur choir”

Dome Church Sunday Service Domkerk Utrecht

Sunday service at Utrecht’s most famous dome church is a must-experience. There’s more music than church.

Until my friend Anne from Oahu raved about her Sunday service experience at the Dome Church in Utrecht, I never thought of attending church there. For one, I already go to the weekly Saturday afternoon free concerts in the church, after shopping for bread and cheese at the market. Sunday mornings are reserved for my triple workouts at my sports club: weight-lifting, aerobics, and yoga.

Out of curiosity I decided to attend this 10:30 am service today. Continue reading “Dome Church Sunday Service Domkerk Utrecht”

Art and music improvisation: an observation and reflection

Watching an art and music improvisation session reminded me of the various collaborations I’ve had with artists in London, Utrecht, Crete, and Brugges. It’s about the process.

As a finishing touch to my recent application for an innovation grant, I asked the Maui-based artist Mike Takemoto if he would consider having his students collaborate with mine. I was thinking along the lines of an exhibit of paintings of musicians, music instruments, or music notes. It would be an extension of the piano ensemble poster exhibit that I “curated” and organized with the photography teacher Harvey Reed and his photo and design students last spring. Such interdisciplinary collaboration raised awareness of the activities we wanted to promote.

Continue reading “Art and music improvisation: an observation and reflection”

Ostinatrio electronified minimalist music

Ostinatrio, a minimalist piece written originally for three recorders in 2005, receives an electronic makeover in 2014 and once more for wind trio and piano ensemble.

What a delight it was to receive a request through Twitter to share a variation of my music!

I wrote Ostinatrio for three recorders and revised it for oboe after its premiere in Utrecht, Netherlands. Like most of my music, I forgot about it until I heard the electronic version which is a lot more, hmmm, what shall I say, relevant? for film music? exciting to play? for my piano ensemble?

Continue reading “Ostinatrio electronified minimalist music”

Hooked on dancing

Dancing makes me feel alive and free. And it also brings back many fond memories.

In the “mixers” the women line up and wait for their turn to dance with a man who leads in a dance around the room until it’s time to join the queue again. This is Maui on a Saturday evening on the parquet wooden floors of the Omori Dance Studios at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC).  In London, it was the opposite — the women were in short supply at Friday night CEROC dances, and the men had to queue for their turn.

Continue reading “Hooked on dancing”

Reasons for attending a classical concert

My reasons for attending a classical music concert have changed over time. On Maui, it has become a social outing, to meet others with the same interests.

The reasons I attend concerts have changed over time. Initially I went out of curiosity. Several factors made it possible in London: I lived near a music college, and I was between jobs. I was looking for inspiration and direction.

Eventually, as a composition student, I went to concerts to learn the repertoire. As a chamber musician, I attended to observe best examples of performance.

Continue reading “Reasons for attending a classical concert”

Monument house for rent in Utrecht, Netherlands

The monument house at Keulsekade 25, Utrecht, Netherlands is available for rent: 4 bedrooms, 2 toilets, 1 bathroom and a separate garden house with its own toilet, shower, sink, and tatami sleep area. Front and back gardens. Floor heating. High ceilings. Everything you want in a central location, convenient for shopping and the central station in Utrecht. Available 15 Oct 2013.

A year ago Robert and I put up our house in Utrecht, Netherlands for sale and for rent. We wanted neither, of course. But we were on opposite sides of the earth, 12 time zones apart, dealing with a situation that required us to empty our home and take the first offer. Had we sold it, we’d be closing an important chapter in our lives.

Luckily the first couple who saw the renovated Dutch monument house fell in love with it and offered to rent it.

Whew! We didn’t have to sell it. Thus I never wrote part 2 of my blog: monument house for sale. But we still had to remove everything, including my beloved Steinway.

Now it’s up for rent again.

Available in mid-October 2013 – the entire house plus the garden house behind it.

I wish a musician would rent it — then we would move the 1909 Steinway grand back where it belongs.

The piano room in the Dutch Monument House in Utrecht
The piano room in the Dutch Monument House in Utrecht

From 2006 to 2011, we met our commitments to hold two concerts per year as part of the Monument House Concert Series in that lovely space. The last one on 2nd July 2011, only a day after the first one, was a good-bye to years of music making. I can’t watch the video in the next blog without tears, but I will try to use it in introducing minimalistic music in the “Introduction to Music Literature” class I’m teaching this semester at University of Hawaii Maui College.

For more information: visit Sabbatical Homes

Online course about social media for educators

Taking an online course for educators on teaching via social media helps legitimize and make sense of the amount of time spent in it.

I’ve attended webinars. I’ve even organized online conferences and moderated presentations. But I’ve never participated as a student in an online class until yesterday evening. I’ve heard my colleagues talk about the challenges of giving an online class, but as a student, it was dead easy to participate.

…. please visit the new blog about this course at WED628  — as we meet Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm HST !!

Queen’s Birthday Gift: abdication for the new king

If I weren’t in Maui or connecting flights in Chicago, I’d rather be in Amsterdam right now. It’s the abdication of Queen Beatrix for her son.

If I weren’t in Maui or connecting flights in Chicago, I would definitely rather be in Amsterdam right now.

Only by stumbling upon a friend’s post on Facebook did I learn that the Dutch Queen is abdicating her throne for her son on 30th April 2013. What a historic event it is!

Every year, on 30th April, every one in the Netherlands comes out to play. It’s not the present queen’s birthday but that of her mother’s that she chose to declare a public holiday for the nation. There are street parties from morning till night. You can either choose to host your own party, sell your wares outside your house, on your street, or visit other parties. The next day is probably the smelliest and dirtiest day in the country, for the streets reek of stale beer and urine.

My first encounter of the Queen’s Birthday Party was in 1995 when I decided to visit the Keukenhof, by way of a conference in Rotterdam. My Dutch friend told me about this public holiday and gave me a glimpse.

From that day on, I was hooked. Every 30th April in the Netherlands was a day to enjoy with friends.

Here’s a toast to the Queen and the new King —- and all my friends in the Netherlands.

Real-time crisis management of concert performers

Giving concert is all about real-time crisis management. There are many surprises: venue, instruments, acoustics, staff, audience, traffic.

Recently I found myself describing the busiest period of our duo’s life as that of real-time crisis management. Each concert was real-time. Each concert held surprises. We could never fully anticipate  what might go wrong. It took a lot of practice (giving concerts) to get good at dealing with the unexpected.

Continue reading “Real-time crisis management of concert performers”