Instrumentation: zheng, percussion, 2 erhu, zhonghu, cello
World premiere: Nov. 16, 2014 hatch Concert
The thematic elements of Thaw are inspired by two events. The first, as the title implies, is a natural transition and exit from winter. This is not the slow melting of ice and snow, but rather the abrupt and caustic fracturing of winter as it ends. Imagine river rice shearing and snapping as it warms in early spring. The second event, making the piece particularly suited for Chinese instrumentation, is the visit of President Xi Jinping to a Beijing cafeteria in January 2014 to eat baozi. Viewed largely as a publicity event, this visit highlighted public perceptions of growing inequities and government corruption, leading to nonviolent protests by disconnected groups under the guise of the “right to eat baozi.” Thus, just as natural environments can thaw, so can social and political environments.
About Robert Oxoby
Robert Oxoby is a double bassist and composer living in Calgary, Alberta. He performs with several Calgary-based ensembles and is a composer and arranger for the Bobby Kork Orchestra, an ensemble combining improvisational jazz, punk, and rockabilly. He is also a Professor of Economics and Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary, and a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Robert was born and raised in San Francisco, California and the Bay Area, where he worked as a musician, educator, and arranger.