I was so happy to be selected for this call for scores, but the experience turned out to be even more than I expected. Dim Sum Ensemble is a wonderfully talented and innovative group of musicians, and we can never have enough people like director / conductor Tony K.T. Leung who is constantly working to improve and diversify our contemporary music scene by creating such valuable projects as “hatch”.
Domestically and internationally, I think Canada is often identified as a sort of multicultural society comprised of all of the diverse backgrounds that encompass many of our communities, so I feel that it’s only appropriate that we strive for our music to reflect that multi-faceted societal experience. I think it’s important to note that this project wasn’t comprised of the exploitive “exoticism” of music written by composers looking to appropriate new timbres from different cultures not their own – rather, this was a meaningful inter-cultural exchange where five emerging composers were given the opportunity to learn about traditional Chinese instruments and then subsequently given the opportunity to not appropriate their sounds & aesthetics, but to promote and collaborate with them to create something entirely new. This was not one-sided appropriation; it was authentic cross-cultural collaboration and exploration.
We should all support organizations and groups like Dim Sum Ensemble. These are the sorts of collectives that, in my opinion, contribute the most to creating new music that simultaneously balances innovation and respects the massive cultural and aesthetic traditions that have come before. I am so thankful to have been involved as a composer for “hatch”, and I learned so much and met so many good people. It was a truly wonderful experience, and I hope my career contains many more collaborations that are as rewarding as this one with Dim Sum Ensemble was!