Scores may be obtained in one of the following ways:
|Dong Dong 棟 ● 動||2016||Hulusi and Chinese Orchestra||5|
|Qi Qi 器 ● 氣||2016||Chinese orchestra||7|
|Ancient-Labyrinth-Enigma||2016||Yangqin, Percussion, Erhu, Cello||4|
|Desert Dew II 漠露 II||2015||Alto Flute, Dizi, Guitar, Daruan, Percussion, Gaohu, Erhu, Cello||8|
|Fragrance of Jasmine Bloom 茉莉花開 ● 香也香不過它||2015||Choir and Chinese orchestra||6|
|Miracle.Mystery||2014||Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello||5|
|Desert Dew 漠露||2014||Dizi, Sheng, Yangqin, Pipa, Zhongruan, Daruan, Zheng, Percussion, Gaohu, Erhu, Zhonghu, Cello||8|
|Dim Sum 點心||2013||Harp, Zheng, Erhu, Zhonghu, Cello, Percussion||9|
|In Stillness 安寧||2013||Guanzi, Yangqin, Erhu, and Chinese orchestra||7|
|Boundless Songs of Love 楓葉情無界||2012||Chinese orchestra||8|
|Trio Momento 紀念||2012||Clarinet, Piano, Cello||1|
|I caught time as it fluttered by 隨楓飄揚||2012||Chinese orchestra||7|
|Magical Train Ticket 神奇的火車||2011||Chinese orchestra||15|
|Dream of Fenghuang 鳯之夢||2010||Percussion and dancer||8|
|Voices from Angel Island||2010||String quartet, optional narrator||10|
|Eight Phases of the Moon||2007||Octaphonic||8|
|Butterfly Effect||2007||Chamber Ensemble||8|
|Woven Threads||2006||Clarinet, Percussion, Violin, Double Bass||9|
|Drip Drop Drup Drap Drep||2006||Acousmatic||4|
|Snakes and Ladders||2005||1/1/1/1,1/0/0/0,Strings||6|
|Ancient voices||2004||Erhu, Piano||6|
|Naked I came and naked I will depart||2003||Flutes, Clarinets, Percussion, Piano, Violins||10|
|In the beginning||2003||Orchestra 2/2/2/2,2/2/1/0, Timp, Perc(2), Strings||14|
|Wandering wind 漫風||2003||Dizi, Yangqin, Pipa, Ruan, Erhu||6|
|Six Degrees of Separation||2002||Flute, Clarinet, Vibraphone, Piano, Violin, Cello||10|
|Naked I came and naked I will depart||2002||SATB voices||10|
|Hands that throw stars into space||2001/1998||Saxophone quartet – Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone||12|
|Do you truly love me more than these?||2001||Clarinet, Vibraphone||8|
|Dialogue with Chinese dancer||2001||Erhu||3|
|Hyperdreams||2001||Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Vibraphone, Viola, Double Bass, CD||10|
|When light first shone||2001||Acousmatic||5|
|Seven Trumpets of the Seven Angels||1999||Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, 2 Soprano Saxophones, Tuba, Percussion, Accordion, Violin, Viola, Cello||7|
|M1R 4H8 – Home life and other diversions||1995||Soprano, Flute, Cello||5|
|River of Sorrow 江河水||1995||Chamber orchestra||5|
|String Quartet No. 1||1992||String quartet||9|
|Theme and Fugue||1991||Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon||3|
|A Moment in A||1990||Violin, Cello||2|
|To the 4th power||1990||Flute||2|
|Fantasy on 2 strings||1989||Erhu, Piano||5|
A Moment in A is a short piece using the A octatonic scale.
This piece won a first prize at the 1991 Kawanis Music Festival. The adjudicator, Clifford Crawley, had these encouraging words:
“I find this short piece thoroughly convincing. It is unpretentious, but has energy and a fine sense of direction. The string writing is effective despite its limited range. It is rhythmic without being ‘nervous,’ and the contrast of texture/colour, articulation and dynamics most effective. Convincing writing in two parts is not easy – Bach and Bartók were masters at it, and your piece has the same purposefulness and absence of needing a 3rd part as theirs..”
Each wardrobe door of the exhibit leads to untold stories of immense joy and crushing hardship. The placement and arrangement of the doors form a sort of labyrinth, one that reveals and veils. This composition is evocative of ancient resonances, silenced long ago but reinvigorated by our confrontation.
This piece complements Song Dong’s Communal Courtyard exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Premiere by Toronto Chinese Orchestra on Friday, March 4, 2016 evening.
The two instruments, erhu and piano, participate in a kind of dialogue, alluding to long distance conversations (e-mail), inter-generational interactions (parent-child), or dialects of a common language (Mandarin-Cantonese). The score is written using proportional notation to allow for the imprecise timing and rhythmic freedom inherent in spoken conversation.
Each page of the 4 page score is on its own music stand. The stands are arranged to form the sides of a square, with the erhu player at the centre. At each new page, the erhu player turns to face the music stand. In a subtle way sonically, but visually and symbolically explicit, the acoustics of the performance venue is explored. The subtitles of the pages or sections are – East, South, West, and North.
Barriers give us perceived safety. Safety from the unknown and from potential harm. But barriers also limit us in our experiences and our understanding. Musical sound can help transcend time, place, and the spoken language. Folk songs in particular express fundamental sentiments directly and purely. “Boundless Songs of Love” takes six folk songs – five Canadian and one Chinese – to bring together the common message of love, and to fulfill the words of Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
One of the key conceptual elements of Chaos theory in mathematics is called sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Also know as the Butterfly Effect, it is the notion that a butterfly stirring its wings in Beijing can transform storm systems in New Orleans. A small change in state at the beginning can have disproportionately enormous effects in the end. The behaviorist assumes cause and effect are more proportional. It makes it very difficult to predict outcomes if small unpredictable changes can have large effects on the system. This can be disastrous if one’s point of reference is to control specific outcomes.
The piece is in 2 movements of similar length. Each movement begins with an almost identical introduction. The slight differences in the introduction lead to drastically different endings.
In the scarcity of the desert, the sweetness of dew delights.
In the perpetuity of the desert, the ostinato rings on.
Traditional Chinese dancer Elena Quah was looking for a newly composed contemporary section to fit into the middle of a traditional Chinese folk dance melody. The choreography and the music of this new section express the dancer’s personal search, uncertainties, and disillusions. The dancer and the erhu player perform their parts ad libitum. Features of the music include angular lines, wide intervals, wide vibrato, pressure vibrato, left hand pizzicato, scratchy bowing, and bow tapping.
The inaugural concert by Dim Sum Ensemble is a culmination of a lifetime’s preparation by its co-founders and influential people. Dim Sum was written especially for harpist Andrew Chan to open the concert. The sound of the harp melts any hardness in the heart, and that makes many dreams possible.
God uses crisis experiences in our spiritual journey to reveal Himself to us in a new or fuller way. Peter’s denial of Christ was a turning point in his leadership among the disciples. After Peter’s denial of Christ three times, He asked him three times: “Do you truly love me more than these?” in John 21:15-17. Peter learned that his mission was to feed and take care of sheep. At the end of the piece, the clarinet repeats a phrase 3 times, asking the question: “Do you truly love me more than these?”
The Fenghuang, or Chinese Phoenix, is a mythological bird that is supreme over all other birds. It is a symbol of virtue and grace. Its feathers contain the five fundamental colors: black, white, red, blue and yellow. In this musical dream, Fenghuang appears in the following sequences:
- Awakening 鳳凰初醒
- Encountering Python 鳳蛇相爭
- Taking Flight 鳳凰展翅
The sound of a dripping faucet can be disturbing, but if you had to listen to it closely, each drop has a unique character, not unlike a snowflake. Drip Drop Drup Drap Drep was created for the 36th Festival Synthèse Bourges 2006.
*This piece uses a Freesound Project sample by sazman released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license.
The revolution of the Moon around the Earth makes the Moon appear as if it is changing shape in the sky. This is caused by the different angles from which we see the bright part of the Moon’s surface. These are called “phases” of the Moon. The Moon does not generate any light itself; it just reflects the light of the Sun. In Eight phases of the Moon, the listener is surrounded by eight speakers where 4 adjacent speakers are used at any one time. As the piece progresses, the active set of speakers is shifted over one by one, creating a revolution of the sound around the listener. The climax of the piece occurs during the fifth phase – Full Moon.
- New Moon
- Waxing Crescent
- First Quarter
- Waxing Gibbous
- Full Moon
- Waning Gibbous
- Last Quarter
- Waning Crescent
Inspired by a Hong Kong photo by Wil Lau.
After a day at Disneyland, who is prepared for the feeling of being in the hauntingly empty Sunny Bay MTR transfer station, where a tired worker sits alone?
This is my first composition. It is in the traditional Chinese folk style. I discovered music through the erhu, so I thought I would write for this instrument first.
Jasmine Flower is one of the most popular folk songs from the Jiangsu region. There exists two versions of the melody and lyrics. Fragrance of Jasmine Bloom combines both versions in a piece for choir and orchestra.
Hands that throw stars into space is the first work that the composer has written which makes a direct reference to God. The title comes from a verse in Graham Kendrick’s The servant King:
Come see his hands and his feet,
the scars that speak of sacrifice,
hands that flung stars into space
to cruel nails surrendered.
This work contains 2 quotations. The first quotation is the hymn Be Thou my vision of Irish folk origin.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
The second quotation appears at the very end, and is a self quotation from the duet Do you truly love me more than these?
In a dream, we experience a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations involuntarily. Sometimes we recognize what we are dreaming about, and sometimes the dream remains as an enigma. The recorded material, derived mostly from manipulating the recordings of the composer’s past works, represents the subconscious events in a series of hypothetical dreams. The role of the live ensemble is that of conscious state. The subconscious and the conscious coexist in a collage, made possible in the synthetic construction of a “hyperdream.” With anything synthetic, it is not to be taken too seriously.
“I caught time as it fluttered by” was written especially for Hong Kong’s La Salle College Chinese Orchestra tour to Toronto. It becomes full circle as the composer writes for young musicians of a Chinese orchestra, since he also received his “musical birth” from a Chinese orchestra. Reminiscing on the earlier days of music making, the composer recalls the folk style material that he wrote as a youth, but with a little more clarity from hindsight. The piece unfolds as: Tranquilo – Agitato – Tranquilo – Animato – Grandioso.
“In the midst of worldly turmoil, Psalm 46:10 ‘Be still…’ reminds me of the solace that transcends.”
“在這個動蕩的世界上，詩篇46:10 ‘要安寜…’ 使我重新體會那種超越的慰藉”。
In the beginning is a tone poem consisting of 7 sections, corresponding to the creation of the world in 7 days, as described by the biblical account (Genesis 1).
1. When light first shone
Against a background of string ostinato, the tone colors of the winds depict light that sometimes is a warm glow, at other times is bright and harsh.
2. Between the waters
Minimal, quasi-improvisatory utterances depict the expansive sky.
3. Seeds of plenty
The central theme is presented for the first time.
4. Dance of the stars
Pizzicato strings offer an atonal exposition to accompany the dancing notes of the glockenspiel.
5. Song of the birds
Birds of all types sing their songs through the woodwinds while the
strings add a warbling song of their own.
6. Gazing at the moon
A quotation from the Chinese ancient melody 月儿高 (yuè èr gāo — moon rises high) signifies the arrival of man as he admires
the beauty of the moon.
7. Blessings of the promise
The theme from Seeds of plenty is proclaimed in a fanfare.
In the beginning was composed with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.
Magical Train Ticket is the story of a young Canadian girl who receives a train ticket from her grandfather in China. She flies to Shanghai and tries to use the ticket, but it is not accepted on the regular train. She meets a Train Conductor that takes her on a musical tour of China featuring 6 regions. A suite of 7 distinctive Chinese folk songs from guangxi, yunnan, xinjiang, neimeng, shanxi, and jiangsu regions, the piece is connected by a train theme, based on a tune from sichuan.
Text by the composer
M1R 4H8 is the postal code of a little house on a crescent.
On the front lawn is a cool maple tree.
Idle neighbours watch from their porches.
My neighbour’s got insomnia, and the highway noise keeps her up!
Birds and neighbourhood lawn mowers annoy you when you are trying to sleep in.
And then baby starts to cry!
Inside you will find the warmth of home.
Written especially as a prelude to 2014 Christmas Eve service at Richmond Hill Christian Community Church, Mircacle.Mystery is an introspective work on the mystery of the Christmas miracle.
The title of Naked I came and naked I will depart is taken from the bible passage Job 1:21. Along with his physical suffering, Job struggles with spiritual and philosophical questions. His three “friends” are quick to provide “answers” to his dilemma. Job’s demand for vindication ultimately leads to God’s rebuke. Only after Job’s repentance did his troubles end.
|From my mother’s womb, naked I came.From my mother’s womb, naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.May the name of the Lord be praised.Why did I not perish at birth and die as I came from my mother’s
womb?I have no peace, no rest, only turmoil.Does not man have hard service on earth?Are not his days like those of a hired man? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows.Like a hired man, waiting for his wages.From my mother’s womb, naked.I depart, naked.
|Man born of woman is
of few days and full of trouble.Like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.
He feels but the pain of his own body and mourns only for himself.Like a hired man, waiting for his wages.I know that you can do all things.Surely I spoke of things I did not understand.Things too wonderful for me to know.My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. I despise myself and repent.From my mother’s womb, naked.I depart, naked.May the name of the Lord be praised.
Qi Qi, pronounced “chee-chee”, refers to the Chinese characters 器 and 氣. 器 are the instruments of the orchestra, while 氣 is vital energy. Without being programmatic, the composer/conductor chooses this viewpoint to express his sentiments.
In 1991, I wrote this note:
“What is the Quintessential moment? For me, it is the present, when all the people I love surround me. It is uncertain how long this time will last. I wanted to remember it by writing an orchestra piece.
To relate it musically, the ‘quintessence’ of the one movement work is a three note motif. The first note is rigidly fixed at a semitone above the second, while the third is free to move. I would like to think of note 1 as the present, note 2 as the immediate past, and note 3 as the unknown future.”
Quintessential moment is dedicated to my parents.
River of Sorrow borrows from a folk melody of the same name from North East China. There is a story about a woman whose husband was conscripted and killed. She returns to the river side where they last saw each other to pay her respects.
This melody was later adapted for erhu and became widely known. It is now considered to be the quintessential sad piece for erhu.
I chose this melody to be the basis of a western chamber orchestra piece, for its extra-musical associations and its inherent musical drama. I took the erhu version, which is 9 minutes long, and reduced it to its essentials, resulting in a piece lasting just 4 minutes. I felt that by doing so, it would increase the directness and intensity of the original melody.
Luxembourg Sinfonietta, Marcel Wengler, conductor, Editions LGNM No. 401
Seven Trumpets of the Seven Angels takes its title and form from Revelation 8:6. There are 7 episodes, with each episode beginning with the sounding of the Trumpet, as played by the pair of saxophones. This piece does not attempt to portray the meaning of the words through music (if that is possible at all). Rather, it raises the awareness of a serious message.
“A quite different substance, on the other hand, is to be seen in “Seven Trumpets of the Seven Angels” by Tony K. T. Leung, … These scores display a real compositional technique put at the service of a clearly structured musical idea.”
Pierre Schwickerath, Luxemburger Wort – 23 February 2000
“Things are different with the Canadian Tony K. Leung (b. 1963 in Hongkong) who, in his apocalyptic “Seven Trumpets of the Seven Angels”, displays a syncretic manner of writing in which extremes do not meet but join their voices in the pure lyricism of an ecumenical dialogue between east and west.”
José Voss, Lëtzebuerger Land – 18. August 2000
“There is direction, clarity, and wonderful sounds (in Seven Trumpets of the Seven Angels).”
The term Six Degrees of Separation is the result of an experiment conducted by American social psychologist Stanley Milgram in the late 1960s. He sought the answer to this question: How are human beings connected? Do we belong to separate worlds, operating simultaneously but autonomously, so that the links between any two people, anywhere in the world, are few and distant? Or are we all bound up together in a grand, interlocking web? He got the names of over a hundred people, at random, who lived in different cities, and he mailed each of them a packet. In the packet was the name of a businessman who lived in a yet another city. Each person was instructed to give the packet to a friend or acquaintance that he thought would get it closer to the businessman. Milgram found that most of the letters reached the businessman in five or six steps.
To model this musically, the piece opens with the 6 performers playing unsynchronized. The “experiment” begins when the flute plays alone, attempting to send a musical message to the clarinet. Having received the message, the clarinet responds in imitation and further passes the message to the piano, and so on, until the last instrument, the cello, gets the message. Having found the path, the group plays together as an ensemble The performers are physically separated with 2 instruments on stage and 4 instruments off stage at the 4 corners of the audience area. Six Degrees of Separation was selected as one of the six piece among 230 entries for ALEA III 2003 International Composition Competition finals.
Six Degrees of Separation was composed with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.
Snakes and Ladders is a playful piece that takes its title from the board game of the same name. As you try the climb the “ladder”, there are always “snakes” lurking in the shadows ready to knock you down.
String Quartet No. 1 is based on an earlier work for violin and cello. The material from the duet occupies most of the first movement. A rhythmic idea, beginning with a pair of diminished fifths, alternates with a melody resembling a folk tune. The tune reappears in the second movement as a legato fugal subject. The first movement ends with a passage played double speed, followed by a fast shifting pattern that will be explored further in the third movement.
The second movement begins with a four voice fugal exposition. The viola leads and the second violin follows. The violin becomes impatient and interrupts the second violin. The cello interrupts in a similar fashion. The pulse quickens as the end of the exposition marked triple forte approaches. The subject is restated in various ways before leading to the next movement without a break.
The energetic third movement recalls the fast shifting pattern of the first movement in a “stuttering” manner. From time to time, a little waltz intrudes.
Synesthesia is a unusual condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, such as seeing a color when hearing a sound. This piece is structured as 7 sections, corresponding to the order and spectral colors of visible white light – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. As the piece unfolds, the music takes on progressively cooler quality. Within the sections, the music is influenced by the qualities of a kaleidoscope, an object that contains loose fragments of colored glass and reflecting surfaces so arranged that changes of position exhibit its contents in a variety of colors and symmetrical forms.
Synesthesia was composed with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.
I think what attracted me to music initially was counterpoint. That is why I love fugues. I like expositions the best, so this fugue has two.
This is one of my first compositions. The music is based on fourths (perfect & augmented), and major/minor seconds.
Inspired by a photo of Hong Kong by Wil Lau, this piece was composed for SOUND-IMAGination: Hong Kong Snapshots.
While researching the Chinese Immigrant Act of 1923 (Canada) and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (USA), I learned about Angel Island, an immigration center off of San Francisco, where immigrants were detained for weeks, even years while waiting for the processing of their status. As a testimony of the jail-like conditions, poems were carved into walls as the immigrants poured out their anger and sadness at the injustice over their initial reception in America. Sixty-six poems have been documented and translated in the book Island – Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940, written by Him Mark Lai, Genny Lim, and Judy Yung (ISBN: 978-0295971094).
As the poems were written for the Cantonese dialect, I have chosen four of the poems to be read during the composition. The reasons for using a spoken voice rather than a sung voice are two-fold. Cantonese, being a tonal dialect, already has a pitch contour. Singing the poem would greatly influence the tonalities used in the instrumental writing – something that I wanted to avoid. Secondly, having the poem sung may lose some of the original character and mood of the poem.
The music consists of 7 sections:
1. with hopelessness
2. with anticipation
3. with a heavy heart
4. with gladness when receiving mail
5. with sadness and anger
6. with solemn pride
7. with bittersweet joy
Living at home, there were no prospects for advancement.
The situation forced one to go to another country.
Separated from the clan, a thousand miles away,
Apart from the ancestors, we are no longer close to one another.
Having not yet crossed the Yellow River, my heart is not at peace;
After crossing the Yellow River, a double stream of tears flow.
My parents are old; my family is poor.
Cold weather come; hot weather goes.
Heartless white devils,
Sadness and anger fills my heart.
Although I had read through four or five loads of poetry and history,
I had only one blue shirt when I became old.
The American woman asked what age I was,
Fifty years ago it was 23.
The mood of Wandering wind is one of being carefree, where the traveling direction is whichever way the wind blows, guided by the confidence that knowing the truth brings.
Wandering wind was commissioned by Vancouver Chinese Instrumental Music Society for the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble
CD Recording: Presence III, produced by Canadian Electroacoustic Community
The focus of this piece is on the bible passage “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). Prior to this event, “the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Samples of thunder, string harmonics, pizzicati, crystal glasses, wind chimes, bowed crotales and vibraphone, are orchestrated to depict the interplay of light colors, reflections, and intensities on an earth that has never been lit.
When light first shone was created for the 31st Festival Synthèse Bourges 2001.
Living in Canada, it is not easy to forget the harshness of winter. The piece is formed from 2 contrasting elements – clusters of violin tones in the high register and treatments of a girl’s choir singing the phrase “Winter was hard.” Winter’s edge was created for the 32nd Festival Synthèse Bourges 2002.
The Chinese folk song 三十里鋪 (Thirty mile village) from Shaanxi province is thematic to Woven threads. This tune, in altered mode, begins the piece. After a double bass solo, the source material is heard within the new context of 5/8 meter. The opening tune returns after a clarinet solo. The folk song is woven together like a thread with other strands to form a simple tapestry.
Woven threads was created over a 4 week period during 2006 Arraymusic Young Composers’ Workshop.