My desk today
I’m sitting at a fulcrum between several large projects – I finally printed out the compiled score of my opera, Tree of Codes (2013-15) which will be premiered on 9th April 2016 at the Staatenhaus Cologne, performed by MusikFabrik & Numero23.Prod with singers from Oper Koeln conducted by Clement Power, directed by Massimo Furlan for Oper Koeln
have started two new works, also for 2016: an ocean beyond earth, a ‘cello solo with various preparations written for Séverine Ballon, and the related 40’ work Everything turns to Air, for Wu Wei (Sheng) & ensemble, co-commissioned by the ELISION Ensemble and ICE (New York).
Yuè Ling Jié (Moon Spirit Feasting), a Chinese ritual street opera
This trailer is from the 2000 Adelaide Festival premiere when the opera was performed outdoors on a barge floating on the Torrens River. One of my many collaborations with, and fabulous productions of, the ELISION Ensemble.
Music by Liza Lim
Libretto by Beth Yahp
Directed by Michael Kantor
Set & Costumes by Dorotka Sapinska
Choreography by Melissa Madden Gray
Singers: Chang-O, Deborah Kayser
Queen Mother of the West, Melissa Madden Grey
Monkey King/Hou Yi, Orren Tanabe
ELISION Ensemble conducted by Simon Hewett
Opera commissioned by the Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals
This production then travelled for seasons at the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts (2002), Hebbel Theatre Berlin (2002), Zurich Theatre Spektakel (2002), Saitama Arts Centre Tokyo (2002) & Brisbane Festival (2006)
Winding Bodies: 3 knots has been shortlisted in the large chamber music category of this year’s BASCA awards. Here’s what I wrote about the piece:
A knot is the magical image of time turned back on itself – think of a knot and you start thinking of the actions and process of tying it! The place where you were first finds itself next to where you will be next as you interlace a strand and pull it tight.
A knot is a material technology for binding and unbinding through friction and tension and is also one of our oldest patterns for story-telling, memory-work, divination and magic. The properties that make a knot ‘knotty’, somehow also appeal to our story-telling instincts when we’re faced with paradoxes and problems intervening in a life of desires, curses, memory and loss. Winding Bodies, 3 Knots looks at the old Nordic tale of sailors ‘buying the wind’ tied in knots – untying the first knot would release a breeze, the second a strong wind and the third contained a hurricane which should never be untied…
I would like to make a music that is similarly intertwining in nature, a music made up of a circulating meshwork of lines of activity in which one finds knots of stable coherence and knots that puzzle and confound; a music where knotting describes a poetics of bewilderment as much as of clarity, and where forms grow out of an attention to and fascination with the hurricane of waywardness that sits at the edge of where you think things are going, barely contained by a knot in a rope.
For alto flute, bass clarinet, piano (with preparation), percussion, Norwegian hardingfele (hardanger fiddle), violin, viola, cello and double bass. Winding Bodies: 3 Knots was commissioned by the Cikada Ensemble with the generous assistance of the Norwegian Arts Council. It received its UK premiere by the Cikada Ensemble at St Paul’s Hall on 23rd November 2014 as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Svetlana Boym – on Nostalgia [Adaptation and elaboration from Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia, Basic Books, New York 2001.]
the wandering scales at the end of this…
…the breathing of a stone rubbed on a granite tile
I played part 14, [stone-on-stone], as one of 100 percussionists in Speak Percussion’s production of Michael Pisaro’s A wave and waves for the Melbourne Festival
morning sky, taxi from the airport, 5 October 2015, Melbourne