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SORI ~ Music for Instruments and Electroacoustic Sound

by Kyong Mee Choi

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1: To Unformed for piano and electronics

This piece is inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, No Death, No Fear. He describes life and death by saying, “When conditions are sufficient we manifest and when conditions are not sufficient we go into hiding.” To Unformed attempts to depict Thich Nhat Hanh’s idea musically by using the same musical material to express Hahn’s idea of “manifestation” and “hiding”.

2: Sublimation for marimba and electronics

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines SUBLIME as “to improve or refine as if by subliming; to cause to pass directly from the solid to the vapor state and condense back to solid form; to elevate or exalt especially in dignity or honor; to render finer (as in purity or excellence); to convert (something inferior) into something of higher worth intransitive senses; to pass directly from the solid to the vapor state; to divert the expression of (an instinctual desire or impulse) from its primitive form to one that is considered more acceptable.” The expressive nature of the piece derives from the interpretation of these definitions.

3: Slight Uncertainty is Very Attractive for flute and electronics

The attractiveness of somewhat unfocused images in photography served as the inspiration for this piece. The flute and electronics are blended in such a way that it is not always clear which is sounding. Pitch bend, airy sounds, whistle tones, and other extended techniques are used to enhance this “fuzzy” effect.

4: It only needs to be seen for guitar and electronics

This piece is inspired by Steve Hagen’s saying, “Truth does not need any explanation. It only needs to be seen. The only way we can be free in each moment is to become what the moment is.” I want the audience to experience being the moment through a stream of sound that does not need any explanation but only needs to be heard.

5: The line we can’t cross for alto saxophone and electronics

This piece represents the composer’s wish to transcend lines or boundaries that we believe we cannot cross due to limitations or conflicts within our mind. The saxophone and electronics intermingle throughout the piece until the moment when the saxophone attempts to go beyond the repeated motivic line that symbolizes the line we cannot cross. Ultimately, the piece tries to show that it is our effort and attitude that dissolves the lines and boundaries between us.

6: Inner Space for cello and electronics

Inner Space describes a state that can only be accessed through calmness and quietness of mind. The lyrical lines and the circular motion of the sound are intended to create a somewhat hollow aural sensation, which represents the Inner Space of our mind. Cello and electronics interact as if they draw the outer lines of the imaginary but yet profound space we all carry within. This piece was commissioned by Craig Hultgren.

7: Ceaseless Cease for clarinet and electronics

Ceaseless Cease depicts the endless turmoil of the human condition that stems from human desire. If we try to stop desire, however, we create another form of desire. The title refers to this dichotomy in the attempt to end what cannot be ended.

8: Dawn and Dusk for two pianos and electronics

Dawn and dusk are often the most mysterious times of day, revealing intriguing patterns of air and color. If dawn awakens the curiosity of our consciousness, dusk seems to calm our unresolved desires. This piece depicts these two special moments of daily experience.


Kyong Mee Choi, composer, organist, painter, and visual artist, received several prestigious awards and grants including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Robert Helps Prize, Aaron Copland Award, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, First prize of ASCAP/SEAMUS Award, Second prize at VI Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo, Honorary Mentions from Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges, Musica Nova, Society of Electroacoustic Music of Czech Republic, Luigi Russolo International Competition, and Destellos Competition. She was a Finalist of the Contest for the International Contemporary Music Contest “Citta’ di Udine and Concurso Internacional de Composicai eletroacoustica in Brazil among others. Her music was published at SCI, EMS, ERM, SEAMUS, Détonants Voyages (Studio Forum, France), CIMESP (São Paulo, Brazil) and Ravello. She is an Associate Professor of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music. Samples of her works are available at www.kyongmeechoi.com.

Laureate of the 2003 Honens International Piano Competition and winner of France’s 2002 Concours International de Piano 20e siècle d’Orléans, Canadian pianist Winston Choi is an inquisitive performer whose fresh approach to standard repertory, and masterful understanding, performance and commitment to works by living composers, make him one of today’s most dynamic young concert artists. Choi has performed in recital and with orchestra across 4 continents. He has collaborated with composers including William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Brian Ferneyhough, Jacques Lenot, Bernard Rands, Bright Sheng, Christian Wolff, Chen Yi and John Zorn. Choi’s debut CD, the complete piano works of Elliott Carter (l’Empreinte Digitale in France) was given 5 stars by BBC Music Magazine: “…sheer élan and pianistic devilment…” Choi is Associate Professor and Head of Piano at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Sean Darby is a performer, composer, and educator of chamber, symphonic, jazz, commercial, and world music. He has performed as a solo and ensemble artist across North America, with ensembles such as the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, multiple jazz and commercial music ensembles, and as a featured marimba and percussion concerto soloist. He hascommissioned and premiered several works from award-winning composers, performed his arrangements and adaptations of works for guitar on marimba and vibraphone, and collaborated with modern dancers, multimedia artists, and lighting designers. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois, a Master of Music from the University of Tennessee, and a Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of Central Missouri. Dr. Darby currently resides and performs freelance work in Kansas City and is an Adjunct Professor of Music at Missouri Valley College. www.SeanDarby.com

Flutist Shanna Gutiérrez appears throughout the US and abroad as a soloist, clinician, and a core member of Ensemble Dal Niente. She has been featured in performances at Carnegie Hall, the Darmstadt Festival for New Music, the Stockhausen Courses, live radio broadcasts, and contemporary music festivals, recitals, and residencies in the United States, Germany, Portugal, Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland. She was awarded prizes at the Stockhausen courses and the Darmstadt Festival, including the Kranischstein Interpretation Prize. She completed private studies in contemporary music with Matthias Ziegler, Camilla Hoitenga, Eva Furrer, and Kathinka Pasveer, and received degrees from the University of Michigan and Northwestern University while studying with Amy Porter and Walfrid Kujala. Shanna has been involved with the commissioning and world premiere performances of hundreds of works, including US premieres of works by Mark André, Claus-Steffan Mahnkopf, Horatiu Radulescu, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. www.shannagutierrez.com

J. Michael Holmes is a renowned solo and chamber musician who “…is emerging as one of America’s stars in the world of the concert saxophone” (states John Sampen). Professor Holmes has preformed throughout the world (including a 2012 European tour with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra) and has shared the stage with artists ranging from Ben Folds to The Temptations – Manhattan Transfer to Idina Menzel… just to name a few. Dr. Holmes is Clinical Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Illinois School of Music, as well as the Enrollment Management Director for the School of Music. Prior to his appointment at Illinois, Dr. Holmes held positions as the Director of Marketing for Saxophones at Conn-Selmer, Inc., Artistic Advisor and Product Specialist with Vandoren, and Guest Instructor of Music at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Holmes is a Selmer and Vandoren Artist/Clinician. More information see: www.michaelholmesmusic.com

Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang is most often heard as a collaborator, performing recitals and radio broadcasts with Chicago’s finest musicians, from instrumentalists of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to singers with the Lyric Opera. An advocate of new music, Mr. Huang is a member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project and has given numerous premieres, including solo works by Louis Andriessen and Chen Yi at Weill Hall as part of Carnegie Hall’s Millennium Piano Book Project. Mr. Huang serves on the faculties of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and Concordia University-Chicago. Mr. Huang can be heard in recordings on the Cedille and Naxos labels. For more information, go to www.khpiano.net.

Cellist Craig Hultgren is a fixture on the new music scene. A recipient of two Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, he was a member for many years of Thámyris, a contemporary chamber music ensemble in Atlanta. Currently, he plays in Luna Nova, a new music ensemble with a large repertoire of performances available as podcast downloads on iTunes. Hultgren is featured in three solo CD recordings including The Electro-Acoustic Cello Book on Living Artist Recordings. He is a founding member and current President of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance. Last year, he completed a three-year artist residency with the St. Louis New Music Circle. Recently, he performed a 15 Minutes of Fame concert titled Occupy Cello in New York for the Composer’s Voice. The program featured 15 one-minute solo compositions that challenge the traditional boundaries of the instrument.

Timothy Ernest Johnson is a guitarist and composer with a wide range of expertise in both historical and contemporary music. He has performed solo and chamber music recitals at a number of prestigious venues in the United States, Europe and Asia, including live radio broadcasts as featured soloist. Johnson has premiered numerous solo and chamber works by other composers and has been featured on a number of recordings. As an electric guitarist Johnson has played countless concerts and club dates with chamber ensembles, combos, jazz orchestras, free-improvisational groups and pit orchestras. Johnson’s original compositions and nylon-string jazz guitar work are featured on two recordings of the Brazilian group “Desafinado.” In the late 1990s Johnson taught guitar at a conservatory in Portugal. He currently teaches classical guitar at the University of St. Francis, and electronic music at Lewis University. Johnson also plays viola in the Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra.

The New York Times calls clarinetist Esther Lamneck “an astonishing virtuoso”. She has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras, with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, with renowned chamber artists and an international roster of musicians from the new music improvisation scene. A versatile performer and an advocate of contemporary music, she is known for her work with electronic media including interactive arts, movement, dance and improvisation. Ms. Lamneck makes frequent solo appearances at music festivals worldwide and maintains an active solo career performing and presenting Master Classes in Universities and Conservatories throughout the United States and Europe. An artist who is sought after by the leading composers of our times, her collaborations have led to hundreds of new compositions in many genres including solo works for the clarinet and the tárogató. Dr. Lamneck is a Professor at New York University, Steinhardt where she directs the NYU New Music Ensemble.


released August 25, 2013


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