UH Mānoa Composition graduate student Chris Molina worked alongside composers from Shanghai Conservatory, Yale University, the University of Cambridge, and from Poland and New Zealand to participate in the second annual Hearing China collaboration. From November 10–16, 2016, composers attended workshop training on Chinese instruments, an afternoon performance at the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Center, and daily interviews for a future documentary DVD. Molina appeared in a number of articles online and in print including Jiefang Daily, China Radio International, and Shanghai Observer.
Hearing China aims to expand the repertoire for Chinese instruments and Western orchestra. This year’s event challenged composers to feature Chinese folk melodies in their works. The Shanghai Philharmonic, conducted by Zhang Liang, premiered Molina’s work before an audience of more than a thousand. When commenting on the incorporation of a Chinese folk tune in his work Molina stated, “I love the melody, [and] I know it’s a sad song. I guess my reaction… was to think about sadness and nostalgia. But I didn’t want to just make a sad piece, I wanted to make a piece that had a lot of energy. Particularly because it’s an orchestra and an orchestra is a very exciting sound.”
Like Molina, many UH Mānoa graduate composers blend traditions from the Pacific Rim and the West into a special vocabulary for international art music. The enthusiastic support from both Composition and Ethnomusicology Areas, as well from the East-West Center, fosters a vibrant creative environment unique at UH Mānoa.
Hear the Interview!PhD student, Chris Molina, interviews with China Radio International discussing his music created during the November 2016 Hearing China collaboration.